After being thumped in their first outing by Louth, Limerick showed vast improvement in a game that was decided by a 73rd-minute point by Kieran O’Callaghan.
Limerick made a splendid start, racing four points ahead by the 11th minute. That scoring burst included a couple of super long-range scores by midfielders John Galvin and Thomas Cahill. Roscommon full-forward Senan Kilbride opened their account in the 14th minute but Limerick still commanded 0-5 to 0-1 advantage 10 minutes later.
It was then that Roscommon began to piece together their best football as their scoring charge was inspired by Gary Cox. They were only 0-6 to 0-5 adrift at the interval and very much back in contention.
Roscommon maintained that impetus after the restart and by the 47th minute were level through another fine score by Cox. The momentum lay with the Westerners but Limerick composed themselves to kick on. With danger man Ian Ryan well tied up by Roscommon corner-back Peter Domican, it was fellow corner-forward Ger Collins who stepped up to assume the chief scoretaker role. In addition Limerick’s defence was laying the platform for their dominance, with Padraig Browne in wonderful form and Stephen Lucey showing his worth since his return to the senior football fold. Browne charged forward for an excellent 50th minute point and Limerick built on that to lead 0-10 to 0-7 with 10 minutes remaining.
But Roscommon weren’t finished. Firstly Gary Cox embarked on a weaving run before brilliantly smashing to the net in the 61st minute. Two quick points thereafter by substitute Jonathan Dunning and Cox, suddenly pushed Roscommon into a 1-9 to 0-10 advantage.
Limerick’s retort was telling. They cracked off three points in a row, Ger Collins, Lucey and Lavin all combining, to propel them into the lead once more as the game headed into injury-time.
Roscommon looked like they had grabbed a last-gasp draw when Karol Mannion lofted over in the 73rd minute, but 40 seconds later they were left reeling when O’Callaghan kicked the winner. A vital two points to kickstart Limerick’s league campaign then, while Roscommon’s renaissance under Fergal O’Donnell hits its first speed bump.
Scorers for Limerick: I Ryan (0-3f), G Collins 0-4 each, J Galvin, T Cahill, P Browne, S Lucey, S Lavin, K O’Callaghan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Roscommon: G Cox 1-4, S Kilbride 0-2, G Heneghan (0-1f), F Cregg, J Dunning, K Mannion 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: S Kiely; J McCarthy, S Gallagher, L O’Dwyer; P Browne, S Lavin, A Lane; T Cahill, J Galvin; JB Murphy, M Crowley, E Hogan; G Collins, M Carrig, I Ryan.
Subs: M O’Riordan for Lane (inj) (16), S Lucey for O’Riordan (yellow card) (28), C Joyce-Power for Crowley (47), D Phelan for Hogan (50), K O’Callaghan for Cahill (yellow card) (58), D Carroll for Carrig (yellow card) (71).
ROSCOMMON: G Claffey; P Gleeson, J Nolan, P Domican; S McDermott, D Casey, S Purcell; B Higgins, K Mannion; G Cox, D Keenan, C Devanney; F Cregg, S Kilbride, G Heneghan.
Subs: D Keenan for Purcell (h/t), Purcell for Keenan (yellow card) (42), D O’Gara for Kilbride (45), S O’Neill for Keenan (45), J Dunning for Cregg (61).
Referee: Michael Collins (Cork).