Sunday saw the quarter-finals of the All-Ireland Hurling Senior Championship decided as the 2014 competition approaches its climax.
With Kilkenny awaiting the victors of Limerick vs. Wexford in the semi-finals and Cork hosting either Tipperary or Dublin, the quarter-finals were perfectly poised ahead of Sunday’s action.
Here, we analyse how both matches played out and take a look at the semi-final fixtures.
|Limerick 4-16 Wexford 1-11||Semple Stadium|
|Dublin 0-16 Tipperary 2-23||Semple Stadium|
|August 10||Kilkenny vs. Limerick||Croke Park|
|August 17||Cork vs. Tipperary||Croke Park|
Limerick Too Strong for Wexford
Wexford came into Sunday’s quarter-final playing for the fourth consecutive weekend running, and their fatigue shone through as they were outclassed by Limerick, 4-26 to 1-11.
David Breen got the Limerick party started in the 28th minute, before Man of the Match Shane Dowling netted twice in first-half stoppage time to give the hosts a healthy lead at half-time.
At 3-15 to 0-8 at the interval, it was difficult to see a way back for Wexford, and so it proved, with Dowling adding to his haul in the second period.
The 21-year-old showed everyone why he’s the future of the sport, romping to a 2-8 tally against a Wexford side that simply couldn’t handle him.
His third major contribution was a little controversial, though, striking the ball in with his hands mid-flight to convert. However, the goal was well within the laws and could even be described as a moment of brilliance by the young Limerick star.
Limerick Post editor Donn O’Sullivan certainly thought as much:
Great instincts and knowledge of the rules by Shane Dowling for Limerick's third goal. Would be no harm to hand out rule books with tickets— Donn O Sullivan (@DonnOSullivan) July 27, 2014
Though the 24-point margin reflected how miserable a day it was for Wexford, they can take great positives from an impressive season.
Shamrocks GAA were among many that sung Wexford’s praises after their Senior Championship campaign came to an end, saying that they should take great pride from their season performances:
every one of @OfficialWexGAA panel should hold their heads up high. The score does not reflect their talent. You are all amazing young guys— Shamrocks GAA (@ShamrocksGAA1) July 27, 2014
For Limerick, though, the journey continues, but they’ll face a tough task in defeating Kilkenny at Croke Park in the semi-finals.
Once again, Dowling will need to be at his best. Should Limerick progress to the final, it could have a lot to do with the youngster.
Tipperary Dispose of Dublin
Tipperary booked their place in the last four with a well-deserved, 13-point victory over Dublin at Croke Park, knocking out the hosts 2-23 to 0-16.
The match was rather tense in the opening exchanges, with both sides putting points on the board. Dublin’s Alan McCrabbe had a lot of joy with frees in the first half, per The GAA:
However, Tipperary soon asserted their dominance with a series of quick-fire white flags, going in at half-time 0-15 to 0-8 ahead.
After the interval, though, it was Dublin that sprung out of the traps, and they had a great chance to register the first goal of the match from the penalty spot.
When David O'Callaghan was dragged down by Cathal Barrett, Paul Ryan stepped up to take responsibility, but he found his penalty brilliantly saved by Brendan Maher. That seemed to spring the visitors into life, and they had their first goal on the board just five minutes later.
After neat build-up play from James Woodlock and Seamus Callanan, John O’Dwyer found the net, making it 1-18 to 0-12.
Tipperary then used their tactical brilliance to play the game out and keep Dublin from scoring, adding a second goal of their own in the closing moments through O’Dwyer once again.
Cork are up next for Tipp, who could pose last year’s finalists a real problem if they continue their sublime form.