Limerick hold off Kerry revival at Fitzgerald Stadium

Kingdom hurlers made to pay for slow start as TJ Reid’s team take the two points

Limerick’s Declan Hannon scored a crucial first half goal in the win over Kerry. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Limerick’s Declan Hannon scored a crucial first half goal in the win over Kerry. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

 

Limerick 1-19 Kerry 1-15

As expected Limerick collected the points at Fitzgerald Stadium Killarney on Sunday but Kerry once more showed signs of their impressive transition to the top table of the hurling elite.

Buoyed by last week’s resounding win over Laois all eyes were on the home team and while there wasn’t any fairy-tale ending this time, they were was much to admire about the Kingdom’s new found hurling renaissance

Kerry confounded the doubters with a gutsy second half display after trailing by 11 points at the interval having played into the teeth of a gale - but showed no fear in the second half, as they outscored Limerick 0-10 to 0-3 to finish much closer to the McCarthy Cup hopefuls than most had expected.

Limerick had the strong wind to their backs in the opening half and after a slow opening 10 minutes they really got going. They led 0-4 to 0-2 after the first quarter thanks to two points from nippy corner forward Barry Nash, and one each from Cian Lynch and Paul Browne. Michael O’Leary and a beauty from John Egan had Kerry right in the contest, playing controlled, intelligent hurling into the elements.

However Kerry began to turn over ball as they persisted with a short passing game and Declan Hannon’s goal in the 19th minute proved crucial, with Gavin O’Mahony the architect. Further points from a Diarmuid Byrne free and a Graham Mulcahy point, had Limerick 1-11 to 0-2 in front, but it did scant justice to Kerry’s efforts.

However Kerry finished the half well with Mikey Boyle doubling on a Shane Nolan effort that dropped in the danger zone for a vital Kerry goal and Limerick retired 1-16 to 1-5 in front.

It was all Kerry in the second half with the wind in their favour, forcing Limerick on the back foot they held the visitors to only three points - two from Hannon frees and their solitary second half score from play came via substitute Sean Tobin.

Kerry had Tommy Casey and Patrick Kelly driving them on as their defence fought manfully for every ball, opening the second period with a point from teenager Jack Goulding, and only for seven second half wides, an upset was on the cards.

Nolan, John Egan from frees and play and substitute Philip Lucid chipped in with 0-2 off the bench as Kerry closed the gap to five. They also had a goal which was ruled out due to a square ball, another key moment which never went in their favour. And so Limerick held on.

Kerry: M Stackpoole: S Weir, B Murphy, K Carmody; D Collins, J Griffin, T Murnane; P Kelly 0-1 , T Casey; S Nolan 0-4 frees , M O’Leary 0-2 , C Harty 0-1 ; J Egan 0-4 ( 0-2 frees) , M Boyle ( 1-0) , J Goulding. (0-1)

Subs: J Conway for S Nolan (55), P Lucid (0-2) for J Goulding (63), J Diggins for D Collins (70)

Limerick: N Quaid: T Condon, R McCarthy, R English, D Morrissey, D Byrne ( 0-3, 0-2 frees, 0-1’65) , S Hickey, D O’Donovan, P Browne (0-2) , D Reidy (0-3) , G O’Mahony, C Lynch (0-1) , G Mulcahy (0-1) , D Hannon ( 1-4 , 0-4 frees ) B Nash ( 0-4) :

Subs: J Fitzgibbon for D O’Donovan (29), P O’Brien for D Reidy (50), S Tobin (0-1) for G Mulcahy (54), T Morrissey for B Nash (58), P Ryan for T Condon (60)

Referee: J Ryan (Tipperary)

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