Limerick hunt down Waterford for fifth win from five
Gearoid Hegarty scores first half goal in Gaelic Grounds top of the table clash
Waterford’s Jack Fagan comes under pressure from Barry Nash and Arron Costello of Limerick. Photograph: Brian Reilly-Troy/Inpho
Gearoid Hegarty scored a superb goal as reigning league champions Limerick made it five wins from five to secure their place in the Division 1 semi-final.
The powerful half forward top-scored for the winners with 1-5 as a poor first half performance from Waterford - in which the visitors scored just one point from play - left Liam Cahill’s team with a second half mountain to climb.
John Kiely’s side opened the scoring as Aaron Gillane grabbed two frees in quick concession. The game’s first score from play came in the eighth minute as David Dempsey engineered enough space to slot over.
With Mike Casey dominating in defence Waterford were limited to chances from deep and it wasn’t until the 14th minute when Jamie Barron scored the visiting side’s first point from play.
The abrasive Casey at full-back got the better of Stephen Bennett in their duel, but Waterford remained in touching distance thanks to a near flawless free-taking performance from Pauric Mahony.
While Cian Lynch caught the eye for the home team with his impressive link-up play and short-passing from midfield.
Two well-taken frees from Mahony, without reply, narrowed the deficit to a point as Cahill’s side began to grow into the contest.
The only goal of the game came just shy of the half-hour mark as the lively Lynch played a high ball into Dempsey who laid it off to Hegarty and the St Patrick’s man blasted into the back of the net to make it 1-7 to 0-4 in favour of Limerick.
Dempsey knocked over another point after great build-up play by Lynch. Both teams had six wides in the opening half, but Limerick had managed 1-5 from play in comparison to Waterford’s solidarity score.
Waterford started the second half in better form as substitute Peter Hogan slotted his side’s second point from play directly after the restart. But a Gillane free, and a David Reidy point in quick response, made it a five-point game .
A Jack Fagan goal gave Waterford a glimmer of hope but two points from Hegarty and another from Gillane edged John Kiely’s charges into an eight point lead. The job was done, as Waterford finished with a flurry of scores to add some respectability to the final score.
Limerick: N Quaid; B Nash, M Casey, A Costello; D Byrnes, D Hannon, D Morrissey; C Lynch, K Hayes; G Hegarty (1-5), D Reidy (0-1), C Boylan; A Gillane (0-7, 0-5 frees), D Dempsey (0-2), G Mulcahy (0-4).
Subs: S Finn for A Costello (38 mins), P O’Loughlin (0-1) for D Byrnes (45 mins), D O’Donnell for D Dempsey (59 mins), B Ryan for C Boylan (66 mins), R Hanley (0-1) for K Hayes (69 mins).
Waterford: S O’Brien; C Glesson, C Prunty, S McNulty; C Lyons (0-1), I Daly (0-1), T Barron; J Barron (0-2), M O’Brien; N Montgomery, P Mahony (0-8, 0-6 frees) MJ Sutton; J Prendergast, S Bennett (0-2, 0-1 free), P Curran.
Subs: J Fagan (1-0) for M O’Brien (31 mins), P Hogan (0-1) for MJ Sutton (35 mins), M Kearney for J Prendergast (52 mins), B Power (0-1) for P Curran (54 mins), D Lyons (0-1) for I Daly (65 mins).
Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow)