Athea went top of the division when disposing of Hospital Herbertstown, and Adare ended Fr Casey’s hopes. Claughaun are on the verge of losing interest, after defeat by Monaleen.
CONOR FITZGERALD, a big hit with Limerick on his return to action against Waterford, hit nine marvellous points for Adare. The winners dominated the opening half and with Fitzgerald and Michael Toomey in scoring mood, led 0-8 to 0-2.
Fitzgerald ended all hopes of a comeback by the Abbeyfeale side when he knocked over another two within five minutes of the restart. John Lenihan, Pat Fitzgerald and Shay McAuliffe made it that bit tighter, but Adare, without dual player Mark Foley, simply upped the tempo again.
: Adare: C. Fitzgerald 0-9, M. Toomey, S. Lavin, P. Lavin 0-1 each. Fr Casey's: S. Lenihan 0-3, P. Fitzgerald 0-2, T. Fitzgerald, S. McAuliffe 0-1 each.
In an often ill-tempered match at St Patrick’s Field, in which two players were sent off, Monaleen looked to sharpshooters Maurice Horan and Muiris Gavin to give them a clean bill of health in the table.
Seven of the losers’ points came from the boot of Wesley Fitzgerald, from placed balls. The green-and-whites looked as if they were ready for an upset when Fitzgerald knocked over two early points, to cancel out an earlier effort from Gavin, but Monaleen soon settled and had control at the break 0-7 to 0-3.
Once again Claughaun, without the injured Leo Fitzgerald, lifted their challenge with a great goal from David O'Neill, followed by a point from the same player. Horan replied, but Fitzgerald left it pretty close at 0-10 to 1-6. With the pressure on, Monaleen stepped up a gear and deadly duo Horan and Gavin ensured that they continued their winning sequence.
: Monaleen: M. Horan, M. Gavin 0-5 each, F. Melody 0-2, A. McEntee 0-1. Claughaun: W. Fitzgerald 0-7, D. O'Neill 1-1.
THERE was a battling performance from outsiders Hospital Herbertstown who led with just seven minutes left.
The south Limerick side led 0-7 to 0-5 at the interval, with Bobby Fenton, Colm Hickey and Eamonn Dooley having traded scores with Ger Ahern, John Collins and Neilus Hunt.
Hayes and Collins had them level after 37 minutes, but two marvellous points from Fenton, and another from Denis O’Sullivan, put Hospital back in control. Athea’s response was instant, with a goal from Mike Hayes. They had Hunt and Pat and Sean Ahern to thank for another brace of points.
Scorers: Athea: M. Hayes 1-1, G. Ahern 0-4, B. Ahern, J. Collins, P. Ahern, S. Ahern, N. Hunt 0-1 each. Hospital Herbertstown: B. Fenton 0-6, C. Hickey 0-2, E. Dooley, D. O'Sullivan 0-1 each.
Once again without the injured Jason Stokes, Drom Broadford encountered tough opposition from newly promoted St Senan’s, before snatching their first win of the campaign.
The 2003 champions wasted no time in getting down to business, building a 0-6 to 0-1 lead after 20 minutes. Senan's rallied and Dan Ryan, Jimmy Carroll and Timmy Carroll had them back with a chance, at 0-7 to 0-5 at the half way stage.
However, they saw their hopes dashed when Ben Noonan hit a stunning goal. Ger Noonan added a point, but to Senan’s credit they restricted their opponents to just one more score, while adding three themselves.
: Drom-Broadford; B. Noonan 1-2, S. Buckley 0-2, M. Reidy, R. Lynch, M. O'Connor, G. Noonan, P. O'Donnell 0-1 each. St. Senan's: D. Ryan, J. Carroll 0-2 each, D. Foley, G. Hanlon, T. Carroll, A. Lane 0-1 each.
IT TOOK two late points from Jimmy Barry Murphy and Stephen Fox to give Ballylanders victory over thirteen-man St Kieran’s at Ballyagran.
Kieran’s, who had to field without injured county player Michael O'Donnell, threatened an upset when the promising Anthony Molyneaux fisted to the net in 50 minutes, to bring the teams level at 1-8 to 0-11, but they failed to sustain their effort.
: Ballylanders; JB Murphy 0-4, S. Fox 0-3, M. Mansell 0-2, S. Walsh, D. Murphy, J. Murphy, M. O'Brien 0-1 each. St Kieran's: T. Molyneaux 1-3, M. Greaney 0-2, J. McCarthy, D. Quaide, N. Broderick 0-1 each.
*A near 49,000 sellout is predicted for Saturday’s Hurling Qualifier double bill at the Gaelic Grounds where Limerick’s hurlers clash with Tipperary, at 7.30, and neighbours Clare do battle with Laois, at 5.30. Tickets were distributed to Limerick clubs and other arms of the association at the weekend. Tickets will be made available to the general public on Thursday.