Dowling leads clinical Limerick rout
Limerick 8-26 Antrim 1-15THIS ALL-IRELAND hurling qualifier was over as a contest after nine minutes by which stage Limerick led by 3-1 to 0-2, with Seán Tobin getting the first goal inside the first minute at the Gaelic Grounds.
It was never an equal affair for the 2,869 crowd, many of whom had departed before Antrim managed 1-1 in the final two minutes.
Man of the match Shane Dowling drove low for Limerick’s second goal and the first of his three goals – he also put over nine points, three from play – and Niall Moran made it three before Dowling crashed in the fourth.
Limerick led 4-2 to 0-2 after 11 minutes but in fairness to Antrim they had three unanswered points before Graeme Mulcahy scored Limerick’s fifth goal.
Antrim then had four points in a row but by half-time Limerick led 5-7 to 0-13 as the visitors regretted having 11 wides compared to only two for Limerick.
Limerick selector John Kiely was happy with the win. “The vital thing is that again our forwards did well and the big tally will be a huge confidence boost for the next round,” he said.
Asked if the game was of value to either side Kiely said: “we can take positives from the game not least the high scoring. But we also saw the return of Séamus Hickey who came through with no ill -effects from his broken elbow.”
“Aaron Murphy made his first appearance of the year in goal – he was a second-half substitute for Nicky Quaid – and he showed up very well. His lengthy puck-outs were accurate and we also saw Declan Hannon show up well with six points from play,” he added.
It took eight minutes for Antrim to get their first second-half point, from Barry McAuley, by which stage it was 6-14 to 0-14 with corner back Richie McCarthy landing a Limerick point from nearly 70 yards when backed by the strong breeze.
Limerick piled on the agony and led 8-26 to 0-14 with two minutes remaining.
Liam Watson saw his 21-yard free thunder off the crossbar and he then had a penalty pushed away for a point after Neil McManus grabbed Antrim’s only goal.
LIMERICK: N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy (0-1), T Condon; W McNamara, D O’Grady, G OMahoney; J Ryan, T O’Brien (0-1); S Dowling (3-9, 0-5 frees, 0-1 65), B Geary, D Breen; G Mulcahy (2-4), N Moran (2-0), S Tobin (1-3). Subs: D Hannon (0-6) for Breen (inj 16mins), A Murphy for Quaid (ht), S O’Brien (0-2) for Geary (50 mins), S O’Neill for Condon (52), S Hickey for McNamara (55).
ANTRIM: D Quinn; P J O’Connell, N McGarry, A Graffan; M Gettions, J Campbell, N McAuley (0-1); B McAuley, S McNaughton (0-3); E McCloskey (0-1), N McManus (1-1), B McFall; P Shiels, C Carson, L Watson (0-7 0-5 frees, 0-1 pen). Subs: J Kerr for O’Connell (inj 20 mins), J Scullion for McFall (ht), M Herron for Gethins (46 mins).
Referee: J Ryan (Tipperary).