2003 Flashback: Dark day for Cork football in Limerick rout

Rebels were blown away in the Munster semi-final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh 18 years ago
2003 Flashback: Dark day for Cork football in Limerick rout

Fionnán Murray leaves the field after being shown the red card by referee Brian White. Picture: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

FLASHBACK: 2003 Munster semi-final: 

Cork 0-6 Limerick 0-16, Páirc Uí Chaoimh. 

A dark day in the Páirc for Cork football, with the grim weather in the second half as the rain cascaded down matched by a horrible performance by Larry Tompkins' charges.

Limerick to their credit were outstanding, a second ever win over the Rebels in the Munster championship, bridging a gap of 38 years and they came close to a provincial title time and again in the noughties.

It was a very balanced display from Liam Kearns' men, with eight players each scoring a point from play. Cork managed just two from play, one apiece through Noel O'Leary and Mícheál Ó Cróinín, to go with four Colin Corkery frees.

Cork would subsequently by eliminated in the qualifiers by Roscommon and even after Billy Morgan returned to the helm were beaten the following summer by Fermanagh on the back of a tepid display in Killarney. That Cork recovered to make six All-Ireland semi-finals in a row from 2005 to '10, culminating in lifting Sam Maguire, was remarkable.

John Galvin and John Quane had the upper hand in midfield here over Derek Kavanagh and Nick Murphy, with Graham Canty unavailable through exams, while Jason Stokes, a teacher in Cork for a number of years, had the edge at centre-back over Tom Kenny, in his only season as a senior footballer as well as hurler.

Tom Kenny, Cork, in action against Limerick's Jason Stokes, in 2003. Picture: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE
Tom Kenny, Cork, in action against Limerick's Jason Stokes, in 2003. Picture: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

Muiris Gavin was clinical from placed balls for Limerick while Cork's misery was compounded by a late red card for Fionnán Murray. 

On paper, Cork had a half-back line to win any game: O'Leary, Martin Cronin and Owen Sexton. Plus Anthony Lynch was in the corner. 

However, this was a confident and athletic Limerick unit, including Stephen Kelly and dual players Brian Begley and Stephen Lucey. It was a pity they never managed to get their hands on the Munster title.

Fans at Cork and Limerick in 2003. Picture: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE
Fans at Cork and Limerick in 2003. Picture: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

Scorers for Cork: C Corkery 0-4 f, N O’Leary, M Ó Cróinín 0-1 each.

Limerick: M Gavin 0-9 (0-8 f), S Kelly, S Lavin, C Fitzgerald, M Reidy, J Quane, B Begley, J Murphy 0-1 each.

CORK: K O’Dwyer; S O’Brien, A O’Connor, A Lynch; N O’Leary, M Cronin, O Sexton; N Murphy, D Kavanagh; BJ O’Sullivan, T Kenny, A Cronin; F Murray, C Corkery, M Ó Cróinín.

Subs: M McCarthy for Murphy (h-t), J O’Donoghue for Kenny (48), C Crowley for A Cronin (55), J O’Shea for Ó Cróinín (60).

LIMERICK: S O’Donnell; M O’Riordan, D Sheehy, T Stack; C Mullane, J Stokes, D Reidy; J Quane, J Galvin; S Kelly, M Gavin (c), S Lavin; C Fitzgerald, B Begley, M Reidy. 

Subs: S Lucey for Stokes (inj 33rd), J Murphy for Fitzgerald (65), P Ahern for M Reidy (67), P Browne for O’Riordan (71).

Referee: B. White (Wexford).

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