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Limerick have booked their place in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling final for the first time since 2007 after coming from behind to power past Cork after extra-time by 3-32 to 2-31 in an epic encounter at Croke Park.
Although John Kiely's side led by a point at the half-time break - 1-12 to 0-14 - Munster champions Cork upped their level after the restart and powered five clear on 52 minutes.
The Rebels looked like they were cruising to victory when they led by 1-26 to 1-20 with just ten minutes left on the clock but Limerick dug deep and reeled off seven points on-the-spin to unbelievably take the lead with less than one minute added time left through an Aaron Gillane free.
But straight from the puck out, Conor Lehane won a free inside the 65 metre line and Pa Horgan was the calmest man in the stadium as he fired over the bar to take the game to extra-time on a final score of 1-27 apiece.
The Treaty Men continued their domination in extra-time but a tiring Cork managed to keep the half-time deficit to a single point.
But second-half goals from Shane Dowling - who made a huge overall contribution after coming on as a substitute - and a lovely solo effort from Pat Ryan gave Limerick an unassailable seven-point lead with only four minutes to play.
Substitute Jack O'Connor sent over Cork's first point from play in over 20 minutes to reduce the arrears to six and despite the addition of a consolation goal in added time, Limerick booked their place in the decider to trigger wild celebrations among their players and staff on the pitch and their jubilant supporters off it.
The loss was Cork's third in-a-row at the semi-final stage and the inquest led by manager John Meyler into how they let slip a six-point lead when seemingly on their way through to the final will be a painful one.
For Limerick though, a meeting with the winners of the Galway versus Clare replay on August 19th and the opportunity to claim a first Liam MacCarthy Cup in 45 years.
Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie
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