Updated: Saturday, 15 Feb 2014 22:54 | Comments
A 75th-minute Shane Dowling point earned a share of the spoils as Limerick and Cork finished 0-17 apiece in the opening game of Division 1B of the Allianz Hurling League at Páirc Uí Rinn.
Just over 7,000 spectators watched on as these Munster rivals served up a cracking encounter, with Cork looking comfortable early on.
The Shannonsiders braved the 27th minute dismissal of Graeme Mulcahy, and a six-point deficit early on to dig deep and snatch a valuable league point at the death.
Cork made one change to their starting line-up from the team announced midweek, with William Egan starting in place of Stephen McDonnell.
Limerick’s line-up was unchanged from the one announced during the week, but Dowling was the only player handed a start from the Na Piarsaigh side that lost last Saturday’s AIB All-Ireland Club SHC semi-final to Portumna.
Last year’s beaten All-Ireland finalists settled quickest; Cork moved 0-08 to 0-02 ahead after just 12 and a half minutes, with all of their early scores coming from play.
Cian McCarthy set the tone in the opening minute, and although Limerick equalised, four points from Patrick Horgan and two from Conor Lehane along with another McCarthy score helped the Rebels move six points in front.
Cork were dominant in the midfield sector at this stage, with a quick flowing ball into their attack, but amazingly they could only tag on one further point before the interval.
Paul Browne and Dowling were central to the Limerick comeback, before 25-year-old Stephen Moylan registered Cork’s final point of the opening half after 22 minutes.
Limerick kept pressing hard, with Browne and Wayne McNamara coming more into the game.
The dismissal of Mulcahy after an off-the-ball incident threatened to derail Limerick’s plans, but they found a new lease of life, with scores from Paudie O’Brien and Shane Dowling ensuring a 0-09 to 0-06 interval score-line.
Limerick’s defence was also forced to be alert in the closing minutes of the first half, with Lehane cutting in at pace in the 29th minute, and leaving McNamara and Gavin O’Mahony in his wake.
However, Lehane couldn’t find the net, with his blazing shot Cork’s fifth wide of the half, and by the interval they had brought their total number of wides to eight.
Jimmy Barry Murphy’s side continued to edge the lead for most of the second half, with no more than three points separating the teams over the third quarter.
Cork led by 0-13 to 0-10 with 14 minutes remaining, but Limerick remained defiant.
A trio of unanswered points, including one from defender Paudie O’Brien, drew the game at 0-13 apiece in the 63rd minute.
The sides were again tied at 0-14 apiece, before Cork’s Rob O’Shea was denied a goal chance by Limerick keeper Nickie Quaid.
Cork continued to work hard and they moved back ahead thanks to an excellent Alan Cadogan point, and with Moylan adding a score, after referee James Owens consulted with his umpires, it pushed them 0-16 to 0-14 ahead on 68 minutes.
However, Limerick equalised once more, following Dowling’s ninth and 10th points.
Victory looked to be Cork’s when substitute Michael O’Sullivan edged the Rebels ahead just into the third minute of injury-time, but Dowling delivered a late equaliser.
Cork head to Portlaoise next Saturday to take on Laois, while for Limerick a home tie against Antrim awaits at the Gaelic Grounds.
Cork: A Nash; S O’Neill, W Egan, K Murphy; S White, C Joyce, M Ellis; D Kearney, L McLoughlin; C Lehane (0-02), C McCarthy (0-03), R O’Shea; P Horgan (0-07, 0-03f), A Walsh, S Moylan (0-02).
Substitutes: A Cadogan (0-02) for Lehane (38), M Cahalane for Walsh (45), L O’Farrell for McCarthy (53), M O’Sullivan (0-01) for O’Farrell (57), P Haughney for Kearney (63).
Limerick: N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy, T Condon; P O’Brien (0-02), W McNamara, G O’Mahony; D O’Grady, P Browne (0-02); T Ryan (0-01), J Ryan, C Allis (0-01); G Mulcahy, S Dowling (0-11, 0-08f, 0-02 ’65), S Tobin.
Substitute: K Downes for T Ryan (49).
Referee: J Owens (Wexford)