GAA All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship semi-finals: Kilkenny 1-25 Clare 1-22; Limerick 2-24 Galway 1-18.
Defending champions Limerick, who are chasing a fourth title in a row, overcame Galway on a score of 2-24 to 1-18 on Saturday, while Kilkenny needed a spectacular last-minute save from goalkeeper Eoghan Murphy to secure a 1-25 to 1-22 win over Clare on Sunday.
Galway hit the ground running in the first of the two semi-finals and led Limerick by six points midway through the first half thanks to a stunning goal from Cathal Mannion.
However, it is not for nothing that Limerick have won three Liam MacCarthy Cups in a row and John Kiely's side responded in spectacular fashion, narrowing Galway's lead to just one point by halftime.
It was all Limerick in the second half, with Kiely's side outscoring Galway 1-12 to just 0-05 as they ran out comfortable winners.
Limerick's victory marks the third time in four seasons that they have knocked Galway out of the All Ireland Hurling Championship at the semi-final stage.
Result in All Ireland Senior Hurling Semi Final— Limerick GAA (@LimerickCLG) July 8, 2023
Limerick 2-24 Galway 1-18 pic.twitter.com/91ybekL5ub
Sunday's semi-final between Clare and Kilkenny always felt like it would be the closer of the two semi-finals and that proved to be the case.
Clare, looking to avenge the 12-point hammering they suffered at the hands of Kilkenny at the same stage last season, were overly cautious in the opening half and trailed by 0-15 to 0-10 at the break.
The second half was a different story, however, with Clare racing out of the blocks and into a two-point lead in a whirlwind opening 15 minutes.
Kilkenny responded impressively though and retook the lead through Eoin Cody's well-taken goal with 15 minutes remaining.
The Cats extended their lead to three points only to be pegged back by Shane O'Donnell's magnificent goal on 63 minutes.
Once again, however, Kilkenny displayed all their mettle to re-establish a three-point buffer and edge toward a second successive All Ireland final appearance.
With the clock in the red, Clare launched a desperate attempt for an all-important goal that would take the game to extra time.
They looked to have got it when Peter Duggan sent a stunning volley goal-bound, only for Eoghan Murphy to produce one and of the best saves in recent memory and tip the sliotar onto the crossbar.
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It means that Kilkenny will take on Limerick in an All-Ireland final for the second successive season when the sides do battle on Sunday, July 23.
Limerick won last year's thrilling final on a score of 1-31 to 2-26 and will seek to emulate the great Kilkenny team of 2006-09 by winning a fourth All-Ireland title in a row.
Kilkenny's TJ Reid, who became the all-time top scorer in the hurling championship in the win over Clare, said it will take a "great team" to beat Limerick in the decider in two weeks' time.
"They’re going for four-in-a-row and deservedly so. You saw them against Galway, cruising through the last 20 minutes of the game. We’re under no illusion," Reid said after Sunday's win against Clare.
Reid was so focused on Kilkenny's battle with Clare that he didn't even realize that he had overtaken Cork's Patrick Horgan as the leading scorer in championship hurling.
"Obviously on a personal level, it’s great but it’s not about me. It’s about getting the victory for the team. It’s a nice achievement to have. But now it’s about getting the body right for two weeks’ time."