Limerick warm up for championship with satisfying win over Waterford

Limerick 2-18 Waterford 1-18

Injuries meant a few familiar faces were missing, but for Waterford, Paul Flynn came on during the second half and that was a welcome reappearance for the fans, but Ken McGrath ad Tony Browne were still absentees.

Limerick manager Joe McKenna was not hopeful that Seanie O'Connor and Paudie O'Dwyer would be back to full fitness in time for their first round game.

But McKenna made no secret of his delight with the overall performance of his side in a game that was played at close to championship pace.

"Of course you would have to be happy with that," he said. "It was our last game before the championship and it was a very good work-out.

"I think it shows we are getting there a lot done and a bit more to do it was a good, hard 70 minutes.

"We hit 18 wides and that is something we will have to work on."

The game was switched to Ballygunner at the last minute as Walsh Park was unplayable after heavy rain.

Limerick made quite a bit of the running once they came to grips with a flying start from Waterford who were four points up inside six minutes thanks to the sharp-shooting of Eoin Kelly (2), Seamus Prendergast and Owen McGrath.

Seven minutes had elapsed before Donie Ryan opened Limerick's account and they never looked back as TJ Ryan and Niall Moran had them trailing by just one after 12 minutes.

Ryan then ran through from inside his own half of the field and sent a pin-point pass to centre forward Niall Moran, whose shot bounced to the right of Stephen Brenner before ending up in the corner of the net.

Eoin Kelly posted a quick reply with a long-range point but Limerick were growing in confidence. Mark Foley was outstanding at right corner back and Ollie Moran in the No 5 jersey was causing problems in attack.

Waterford battled back, however, and had the arrears down to a single point when Limerick's T J Ryan won a penalty which he blasted over the bar.

Still Waterford kept pressing forward, eventually drawing level, but fell victim to another Limerick surge before half time when the visitors led 1-9 to 0-8. Limerick maintained their momentum on the resumption and, five minutes into the second half, they were six points clear.

Waterford stepped up a gear and points from Eoin Kelly and Seamus Prendergast saw them eat into the lead which was down to a single point before a long-range Conor Fitzgerald shot sailed in the net for a Limerick goal.

But a goal from substitute Paul Flynn had the margin down to a point and then Dan Shanahan equalised with 10 minutes remaining and it appeared they would surge clear.

It was then that the confidence Joe McKenna spoke of began to manifest itself and a point from Ollie Moran had Limerick back in the driving seat.

Another from substitute Pat Tobin and two more from Conor Fitzgerald sealed the issue.

Scorers for Limerick: C Fitzgerald and N Moran 1-3 each, T J Ryan 0-4 (0-3 frees), O Moran, D Ryan and P O'Grady (frees) 0-2 each, D Sheehan and P Tobin 0-1 each.

Waterford: E Kelly 0-10 (0-5 frees), S Prendergast 1-2, P Flynn 1-0, D Shanahan and D Bennett (0-1 free) 0-2 each, J Mulland and O McGrath 0-1 each.

LIMERICK T Houlihan; D Reale, S Lucey, M Foley; O Moran, B Geary, P Lawlor; D O'Grady, P O'Grady; C Fitzgerald, N Moran, A O'Shaughnessy; D Ryan, T J Ryan, D Sheehan Sub: P Tobin for D Sheehan.

WATERFORD: S Brenner; T Feeney, F Hartley, D Coffey; O Murphy, J Murray, B Phelan; M Walsh, D Bennett; J Mullane, S Prendergast, E Kelly; P O'Brien, D Shanahan, O McGrath Subs: P Flynn for P O'Brien; G Power for O McGrath, L Lawlor for B Phelan.

Referee: Pat Dunphy (Kilkenny).

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