By Cóilín Duffy in Mallow
Limerick supporters have another All-Ireland Final to look forward to in Croke Park, after their Ladies Footballers booked a place in the TG4 Junior decider, thanks to a 3-15 to 1-14 win over London in Mallow on Sunday afternoon.
London were aiming to make amends for last year’s loss to Fermanagh after extra-time at the same stage of the competition, but Limerick dug deep with a superb second half showing.
London manager Paddy Bowles was facing his native county, and they got off to a cracking start, leading by 0-3 to 0-0 after eight minutes, with Avril Kilkelly firing two frees, before a Lisa Cafferky score.
Limerick were incredibly unlucky in the first quarter not to have more scores, with the crossbar and posts denying them on a number of occasions.
A Catriona Davis free got Limerick off the mark in the 10th minute, and the Monagea player was to have a strong contribution for her side throughout.
A second point from Davis cut the gap to the minimum, but London looked strong, and helped by a Kilkelly goal, after an excellent team move, ensured London lead by 1-5 to 0-3 after 19 minutes.
Limerick rallied, with Mairéad Kavanagh setting up Rebecca Delee for a 26th minute goal.
London kept on top thanks to Kilkelly and Cafferky, and entered the dressing rooms with a 1-8 to 1-7 lead.
London twice led by two points in the opening six minutes of the second half, but were really handed a testing time of it by Limerick.
Limerick came back strongly with their best period in this game, firing three unanswered points.
The introduction of former All-Star Dympna O’Brien added greatly to their attack, with her 42nd minute score putting Limerick ahead for the first time – 1-11 to 1-10.
Rebecca Mills leveled the game for the second time, and while the crossbar again began to cause Limerick problems, they found the net when O’Brien slotted home a 47th minute penalty.
London kept in touch through Kilkelly, but Limerick held the upper hand in the closing stages, with Delee netting their third goal, as they advanced to a Croke Park decider thanks to a seven-point win.
Scorers for Limerick: R Delee 2-2; C Davis 0-6 (0-4f); D O’Brien 1-3 (1-0 pen), K Heelan 0-2; M Kavanagh, C Mee, 0-1 each. London: A Kilkelly 1-6 (0-4f); L Cafferky 0-6 (0-4f), K Canavan, R Mills 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: M Giltenane; K Reidy, S O’Sullivan, A Hartigan; C Hickey, N Ryan, M O’Shea; L Hanley, C Mee; C Ní Cheallaigh, R Delee, R Ambrose; O Giltenane, C Davis, M Kavanagh. Subs: K Heelan for C Hickey (27), D O’Brien for C Davis (40), C Ryan for C Ní Cheallaigh (50), E Ryan for K Reidy (62).
LONDON: R Healy; C Barrett, R Hunt, N Mulholland; N Cocoman, P Marmion, C Twoigh; N Daly, K Canavan; C O’Sullivan, A Kilkelly, R Mills; L Cafferky, F Morrissey, C McGahan. Subs: B Murphy for F Morrissey (52), C Brennan for C O’Sullivan (57).
REFEREE: Eamonn Moran (Kerry).
**More to follow including video reaction**