Limerick 1-21 Dublin 1-15
Limerick boss John Allen says his side are finally turning preparation into performance as they close in on a promotion play-off place.
The Shannonsiders gave their best display of the season in Division 1B on Saturday evening to take pole position in the race for a final spot and a shot at promotion.
They had just three points to spare in previous outings against Carlow and Antrim.
But with their full-forward line delivering 1-16 at Croke Park, they came from behind to overcome what Allen believes are their biggest rivals in the division.
Limerick trailed by six points after a slow start and by five after 40 minutes of play.
But a storming second-half performance that included 1-3 from Graeme Mulcahy and a straight red card for Dublin’s Paul Ryan, for an off the ball clash with Tom Condon, secured an important win.
“When you’re working with a team and you see how well they’re doing in training, in the gym and with their eating programmes and so on, you’re waiting for it to transfer onto the field of play,” said Allen.
“This was the first day that I could say that happened, that it transferred onto the field of play. This was a key game for both teams. I presume that we would be seen as the two strongest teams in the division. So this was key.”
Limerick have testing ties against Offaly and Wexford to come as they seek to preserve their 100% record in the lower tier.
Allen hailed Mulcahy as instrumental in their latest win. The corner-forward shot 1-3 in a storming second-half as Limerick came from 1-11 to 0-9 down after 40 minutes. Free-taker Declan Hannon shot nine points but Mulcahy was the man who did most damage. His 56th minute goal was crucial, just minutes after Ryan’s red card, and it gave resurgent Limerick a lead they stretched to six by full-time.
If both sides win their remaining two games they’ll meet again in the Division 1B final – with the winners gaining promotion.
“As we all saw last year, Graeme Mulcahy’s a lethal finisher,” said ex-Cork chief Allen.
The Limerick full-forward line of Mulcahy, Kevin Downes and free-taker Declan Hannon shot 1-16 as a group.
“Kevin has threatened at training and been very impressive,” said Allen.
“He hasn’t brought it onto the field of play so I was particularly delighted for him. Because we all know he has it and that it is in him. Declan Hannon has as much hurling as anyone in the country. So it was great to see all those fellas doing well.”
Dubs boss Anthony Daly lamented three early goal chances that they wasted while they notched 15 wides overall.
“All the chances we missed in the first-half, that was the crucial part of it,” said Daly. “It sealed our fate maybe but we were in there pitching away right to the very end.”
Scorers for Limerick: D Hannon 0-9, 6f, G Mulcahy 1-3, K Downes 0-4, P Browne 0-2, N Moran 0-2, P O’Brien 0-1.
Scorers for Dublin: C McCormack 1-1, J Boland 0-4, P Ryan 0-3, 1f, A Nolan 0-2, 2f, D Sutcliffe 0-2, J McCaffrey 0-1, C Keaney 0-1, D O’Callaghan 0-1.
LIMERICK: N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy, T Condon; P O’Brien, W McNamara, G O’Mahoney; P Browne, J Ryan; S Dowling, S Hickey, D Breen; K Downes, D Hannon, G Mulcahy.
Subs: N Moran for Dowling h/t, C Alliss for Hickey 69, S Tobin for Mulcahy 72, C King for Ryan 73.
DUBLIN: A Nolan; R Trainor, P Schutte, P Kelly; M Carton, L Rushe, S Lambert; J Boland, K Byrne; C Keaney, J McCaffrey, D Sutcliffe; C McCormack, D O’Callaghan, P Ryan.
Subs: J Doughan for Schutte 46, S Durkin for Byrne 50, D Treacy for McCaffrey 58, E Dillon for O’Callaghan 61, S McGrath for McCormack 70.
Referee: J Owens (Wexford).
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