Cork vs Limerick: 2018 Munster Championship epic ends in a draw
Last Updated: 28/05/20 12:27pm
In this week's edition of our Classic Games series, we look back at the 2018 Munster Championship meeting between Cork and Limerick.
While their All-Ireland semi-final meeting later in the summer of the 2018 may have been more memorable, the Rebels and Treaty played out an epic draw in the provincial round-robin.
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The inaugural year of group stages in the provincial championships brought with it a great unknown.
Reigning Munster champions Cork had started brightly at home to Clare, before surrendering a nine-point lead away to Tipperary, getting held to a draw by the Premier in Thurles.
Meanwhile, John Kiely's young side had opened with a statement victory over Tipp in the Gaelic Grounds, and travelled to the banks of the Lee for their second tie of the campaign.
With 34,607 packed into Páirc Uí Chaoimh on a sweltering Saturday evening, it was Cork's first home championship match in the stadium since its reopening the previous year.
The match: Cork 1-25 Limerick 0-28
The game started at a frantic pace, with nine points from play in the opening 10 minutes.
It continued that way until the first major breakthrough in the 26th minute when Cork found themselves 0-10 to 0-8 ahead. Aaron Gillane was given his marching orders for an off-the-ball incident, and the 14 men of Limerick had a mountain to climb.
Nonetheless, despite their numerical disadvantage the visitors refused to give up and kept coming back at the hosts.
Patrick Horgan's second-half goal looked like it might tip the balance, but undeterred, Limerick hit back once again and had cancelled out the lead by the 50th minute.
Cork led 1-25 to 0-27 in the dying embers of the game, but a wayward clearance found Kyle Hayes who fired it over the bar to earn his side a draw.
What they said...
"It was an incredible game, there's no doubt about it," Kiely told Sky Sports at full time. "It was really tit-for-tat. There was never more than three between the teams. It was that close.
"The commitment of the players was extraordinary.
"We really worked exceptionally hard at closing down the [spare] man and closing down the space.
"I think our boys looked very composed in a tricky situation, they just kept their cool, waited for their chances and when they got their chances, they took them."
"An incredible game. In fairness to Limerick, they had a man sent off and they came at us," noted John Meyler.
"They went three points up, but we showed fantastic character in the last five or ten minutes.
"It was a tremendous advertisement for hurling. Incredible game."
What happened next?
Cork went on to defend their Munster title. Meanwhile, Limerick came third in the group, taking the back door route to the All-Ireland quarter-final where they beat Kilkenny.
This set up a rematch between the Munster rivals, which the Shannon-siders won after extra-time. Limerick went on to win their first All-Ireland title in 45 years.