From the time corner-forward Danny Frewn blasted home the first Limerick goal in the fifth minute, the signs were good for the home side; by the 13th minute they were looking home and hosed, 2-4 on the board (wing-forward Brian Noonan with the second major) with Waterford yet to register. The visitors made a fight of it and in the next 10 minutes, in their best spell of the match, they scored 1-2 without reply. Full-forward Eoin Walsh opened Waterford’s account with a point and talented corner-forward Paul White then notched 1-1, and it was game on.
Limerick responded well, however, and two further points (one each from Jamie Lee and freetaker Pádraig Scanlon) made it 2-6 to 1-3 at the break, double scores.
On the resumption of play Limerick again had a tonic start, a goal after three minutes, when the alert Patrick O’Donnell pounced on a dropped ball by Waterford keeper Conor Mulcahy. Again, however, Waterford refused to lie down, and though Limerick built on their lead with points from hard-running corner-back Shane Reynolds (point of the match, in fact) and Padraig Scanlon, a second Waterford goal – from White again – had the margin back to just seven points (3-8 to 2-4) with 10 minutes left to play.
In the last quarter, Limerick went to the bench, and the fresh legs of Seán O’Donnell, Liam Quinn and the pacy Kevin Brosnan was enough to see the well-supported home team record a well-merited win.
They’re a talented bunch, this Limerick team, strong down the middle of the defence where the tenacious Shane O’Connor – mentioned already – was always on top, James O’Meara a class act at centre-back. Midfielders Ian Corbett and Padraig Scanlon are both dangerous as supplementary attackers but also cover back well, while Dara Treacy – nominally full-forward but given a roving role – was man-of-the-match. They have real pace too, in defence and attack, in corner-forward Danny Frewn especially. Frewn scored one goal and could easily have had a hat-trick.
As for Waterford, they too had their performers (and Paul White will do damage against any team, given a decent supply of ball) but sadly, on this night at least, not enough of either.
Scorers for Limerick: P O’Donnell, 1-2; P Scanlon, 0-5 (3f); D Frewn, 1-1; B Noonan, 1-0; S Reynolds, J Lee, 0-1 each.
Scorers for Waterford: P White 2-1 (0-1f); E Walsh, E Power, C O’Shea, 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: J Greaney; S Reynolds, S O’Connor, B McCarthy; M O’Leary, J O’Meara, B Doherty; I Corbett (capt), P Scanlon; B Noonan, M Brosnahan, P O’Donnell; J Lee, D Treacy, D Frewn.
Subs: G O’Connor for Brosnahan, 43; S O’Donnell for Noonan, 55; L Quinn for O’Donnell, 55; K Doody for Lee, 56; K Brosnan for O’Leary, 59.
WATERFORD: C Mulcahy; C O’Hare, K Phelan, S McGrath; L O Corraoin, D Duggan, B Carroll; R Sheehan, D O’Brien (capt); E O Ceallaigh, S Lawless, E Power; D Hallihan, E Walsh, P White.
Subs: C O’Shea for Lawless, 38; R Dunfort for O’Brien, 45; C Condon for O Ceallaigh, 47; L Middleton for O’Hare, 57.
Referee: G O Loinsigh (Kerry).