Noel McGrath's shoulder is a wall but Diarmuid Byrnes is pure class as Limerick win battle 6 months ago

Noel McGrath's shoulder is a wall but Diarmuid Byrnes is pure class as Limerick win battle

Limerick 1-21 Tipperary 1-14

Pure helter-skelter hurling.

If Tipperary are a team on a mission this year, then Limerick are just consolidating their status as the most physical team in the land.

On Saturday evening, the two revved up battalions met at the Gaelic Grounds and what followed was Tipperary attempting to prove a point, only for Limerick to eventually overpower them in seventy minutes of uncompromising, physical and absolutely attritional hurling.

Tipp were up for it, but Limerick were absolutely hell-bent.

They won the day again and after two games of their Allianz League campaign, it's clear that they're just as driven and even more physical than they were last year.

Tipperary got off to a decent start with Michael Breen cutting loose straight from the throw-in to score a wonderful solo-point. That flicked a switch for Limerick, it closed a door for Tipperary.

It would prove to be the last time a Tipperary man would get so much as an inch of space as for the next 35 minutes of hurling, Limerick - led by the insatiable Diarmuid Byrnes, the fiery Darragh O'Donovan and the combative Richie English, suffocated, leathered and hit men in blue and gold jerseys like they haven't hit them before.

All within the rules. All in pursuit of the little O'Neill's sliotar.

Tipperary met them half-way in fairness, with Noel McGrath's mark on Richie English below a signal of their intentions, but Limerick are a different breed and this is the game they love.

That man Byrnes was exceptional for them in the first half - his delivery from deep absolutely drilled and so inviting for forwards to run onto, and he ended his day with four points. Up front, Gillane threw his weight around while debutante Conor Boylan really impressed.

Graham Mulcahy chipped away with his few customary scores and though Tipperary responded with a cracking Bonner Maher goal and led by a point at half-time, you always felt Limerick had that bit more to give.

In the second half, they mixed that ever-present physicality with some sharp, tasty and extremely silky hurling. Tom Morrissey came into his own and his ability to bring other players into the game is a key part of John Kiely's well-oiled machine.

He set up numerous scores in an industrious second half display and with Tipperary's forwards fading out of it, Limerick took off to win by seven.

Subs Peter Casey and Pat Ryan made a difference in the second, but that man Byrnes was the man of the match.

Watch his interview and match highlights, one of which was a pinpoint cross-field pass to set up a Graham Mulcahy here, from eir Sport.

These boys mean business.