Lively Limerick rise to challenge

Limerick 0-10 Galway 0-8

Three defeats in-a-row had left Liam Kearns side staring relegation in the face, but they were back to something like their best form in this highly competitive tie which drew a paltry attendance of 1,678.

After Galway had taken a two point lead inside the opening eight minutes, Limerick, despite losing corner back Mark O’Riordan after nine minutes with an ankle injury, took control for the remainder of the half.

While they are still some way off the form of last year’s Munster final, Kearns’ relief was tangible.

“Given the injuries we have, today’s victory is great and I’m delighted for the players in particular,” said Kearns.

Galway manager Peter Ford was given plenty of food for thought, particularly about his full back line which was given a torrid time by Galvin, Reidy and Conor Fitzgerald, and only Kieran Fitzgerald survived with his reputation intact.

Defensively Limerick were magnificent, with Diarmuid Sheehy, John McCarthy, Padraig Browne and Stephen Lavin unbeatable, and after the early surge of Galway pressure which yielded two points from Sean Armstrong, Limerick took control due mainly to the excellence of midfielders John Quane and Jim O’Donovan.

Playing some delightful football, and using the towering figure of John Galvin at full-forward as the perfect target man, they kicked seven points without reply.

Michael Reidy landed three excellent points from play while John Murphy’s accuracy from frees accounted for the other four.

Galway went 24 minutes without a score, but in a late surge they missed a glorious chance of a goal when, after Diarmuid Sheehy lost possession coming out of defence, Kieran Comer blazed wide from 12 metres.

Limerick led 0-7 to 0-3 at half-time, but Galway were a different side on the change over. Padraig Joyce began to come more into the game, and with Michael Meehan finally finding the target for two excellent points, the visitors had the deficit down to the minimum after 60 minutes.

Limerick began to struggle at midfield, but the switch of John Quane to full forward and John Galvin to midfield restored their advantage, and a Sean Buckley point eased the pressure on the home side.

However, it took some stout defending by John McCarthy and Stephen Lavin in particular to keep them at bay.

In their anxiety to deny the Galway forwards, Limerick lost full-back Diarmuid Sheehy and wing back Conor Mullane to yellow cards, but substitute Eoin Keating proved his worth with a great point from a long range free which put his side three to the good with seven minutes remaining.

The goal Galway craved never looked like coming as the Limerick defence thwarted them at every opportunity and their only reward for the sustained pressure was a Sean Armstrong point.

Scorers: Limerick: J. Murphy 0-4 (frees); M. Reidy 0-3; J. Galvin, S. Buckley, E. Keating (free) 0-1 each. Galway: S. Armstrong 0-4; M. Meehan 0-3 (0-2 frees); K. Comer 0-1.

LIMERICK: S. Kiely; M. O’Riordan, D. Sheehy, J. McCarthy; P. Browne, S. Lavin, C. Mullane; J. Quane, J. O’Donovan; M. Crowley, J. Murphy, S. Buckley; C. Fitzgerald, J. Galvin, M. Reidy. Subs. T. Stack for O’Riordan; E. Keating for Murphy; D. Reidy for Mullane (yellow carded); G. Aherene for M. Reidy; A. Lane for Sheehy (yellow carded).

GALWAY: A. Keane; V. Feeney, K. Fitzgerald, C. Monaghan; T. Costelloe, D. Meehan, M. Comer; J. Bergin, N. Coleman; P. Clancy, P. Joyce, K. Comer; D. Savage, M. Meehan, S. Armstrong. Subs. K. Brady for Costelloe; T. Meehan for Feeney; D. Burke for T. Meehan; M. Clancy for K. Comer; T. Giblin for D. Meehan (yellow carded).

Referee: P. Fahy (Longford).

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