LIMERICK 1-26 DUBLIN 0-17
Limerick powered their way to a 12-point victory over Dublin in Saturday night’s NHL Division 1B clash at the Gaelic Grounds.
The Shannonsiders were clearly the better team on the night and their interplay and ability to create time and space for team-mates saw them cruise to a facile win.
Dublin next host All-Ireland champions, Galway, in Parnell Park next Sunday and the must do so without their DCU players – Eoghan O’Donnell, Donal Burke, Fergal Whitely, Rian McBride and Daire Gray – and obviously the Cuala contingent as they prepare for the All-Ireland club final.
O’Donnell was one of Dublin’s best performers on Saturday night in a game where Dublin’s defence was under sustained pressure owing to the fact that the Dubs struggled to win a regular supply of primary ball in attack.
Whitely and Burke toiled hard throughout also and the Na Fianna man was unlucky not to have been awarded frees on several occasions when he appeared to be clearly fouled when in possession.
One of few positive notes on the night for Pat Gilroy’s men was the display of Danny Sutcliffe as he scored 0-5 from play as looked more like the dynamic player of a few seasons past.
Top scorer for the home side was Aaron Gillane, an U21 last year when Limerick won the All-Ireland and who only passed a fitness test shortly before throw-in.
He finished with a tally of scored 1-9 (0-7f) including the first half penalty which put them well on the road to victory.
The Shannonsiders had eight different scorers as they enjoyed a 1-13 to 0-7 interval lead and there was to be no heroic comeback by the Dubs in the second period.
After a decent opening spell Dublin scored just twice in the concluding 15 minutes of the first half – Sutcliffe and Donal Burke converted his third free.
Limerick restarted on the front foot with two Seamus Flanagan points and Gillane also on target as they moved 1-18 to 0-8 ahead by the 45th minute.
Conal Keaney moved out the field and his determination and power began to see Dublin get more into the game.
However, Limerick’s ability to pick off long-range points and find time and space in attack saw them run out 12-point victors.
SCORERS – Limerick: A Gillane 1-9 (0-7f), T Morrissey, D Reidy (0-1f) 0-4 each, D Byrnes (0-1f) 0-3, G Hegarty, S Flanagan 0-2 each, P Ryan, B O’Connell 0-1 each. Dublin: D Burke 0-6 (0-6f), D Sutcliffe 0-5, C Keaney 0-2, F Whitely, C Boland, E O’Donnell, F Mac Gib 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: N Quaid; S Finn, S Hickey, R English; D Byrnes, D Hannon, D Morrissey; P Browne, C Lynch; G Hegarty, T Morrissey, D Reidy; A Gillane, S Flanagan, B Murphy. Subs: P Ryan for Gillane (48), O O’Reilly for Murphy (54), B O’Donnell for Hegarty (57), R McCarthy for Hickey (66).
DUBLIN: A Nolan; P Smyth, E O’Donnell, B O’Carroll; T Connolly, C Crummey, S Barrett; C McBride, N McMorrow; F Mac Gib, C Keaney, D Sutcliffe; F Whitely, C Boland, D Burke. Subs: C Costello for McBride (24), D Kelly for O’Carroll (ht), R Hayes for McMorrow (ht), L Rushe for Boland (ht), J Madden for Connolly (70).
REF: J Ryan (Tipperary).