Limerick work hard

 

Limerick 3-21 Antrim 2-12: Limerick picked up their second win under new manager Joe McKenna at the Gaelic Grounds yesterday, but only after a stuttering second-half performance against an Antrim team that had conceded 6-21 to Tipperary a week earlier.

They looked to be romping to victory when first-half goals from Niall Moran and Alan O'Connor, and a host of points from Alan O'Connor and Niall Moran, opened a commanding 2-11 to 0-8 advantage. But that lead was whittled back to a mere two by a revitalised Antrim entering the final quarter. Michael and Ciarán Herron and Martin Scullion had kept the eventual losers ticking over in that first half with well-struck scores.

The Ulster side rocked their hosts at the foundation inside an eight-minute spell when Karl McKeegan rounded Brian Geary to shoot to the net. This was soon followed by another from John McIntosh after he had been given a clear run.

Amazingly, a now stunned Limerick were just three points in front and the 1,400 fans present at the game must have feared a shock result. Karl Stewart had them fretting even more when he made further inroads.

Unfortunately for Antrim, they were unable to sustain their effort and points from Donal O'Grady, Alan O'Connor and Andrew O'Shaughnessy gave Limerick more breathing space, before the youthful Alan O'Connor finally killed off a brave challenge with his side's third goal seven minutes from the finish. Manager Dinny Cahill praised his side for storming back from nine points at the break.

LIMERICK: T Houlihan; D Raele, B Geary, M Cahill; P O'Dwyer, O Moran, D Breen (0-1); P O'Grady (0-2), D O'Grady (0-2); A O'Connor (1-6, 0-5 frees), J O'Brien, N Moran (0-4); A O'Shaughnessy (0-1), S O'Connor (2-2), K O'Dwyer (0-2). Subs: M Foley, for Raele (44 mins), D Ryan (0-1) for N Moran (48 mins), G Heagney for O'Brien.

ANTRIM: D Quinn; A Caireallain, K Kelly, M Kettle; M Cambridge, J Campbell, C Herron (0-2, two frees); M Scullion (0-1), G Cunningham; M Herron (0-3, two frees), P Richmond (0-1), K McKeegan (1-1); P Close, J McIntosh (1-1), B McFall (0-1). Subs: B Quinn (0-1) for MacFall, K Stewart (0-1) for Close (yellow card, 40 mins), B Harron for Richmond, M Hamilton for Kettle (yellow card, 50 mins).

YELLOW CARDS: Limerick: Raele (44 mins) N Moran (48 mins), Breen (56 mins). Antrim: Close (40 mins) Kettle (50 mins).

Referee: J McGrath (Westmeath).