Despite being struck by the late withdrawal of their two main scorers, Ian Ryan and Ger Collins, the hosts always looked the more likely to succeed. Had they pressed home their advantage when they were on top they would have won more comfortably.
Although Emlyn Mulligan gave wind-assisted Leitrim an early lead, Eoghan O’Connor’s free and James O’Meara and O’Connor from play put the hosts in front before two Mulligan frees had the sides level again. After an exchange of frees between O’Connor and Mulligan, Paul Brennan gave the visitors a half-time lead of 0-5 to 0-4.
Limerick were back in front within five minutes of the restart through O’Connor’s free, Steven Lavin and O’Connor and, after Adrian Croal replied, were four points to the good. But after O’Connor’s shot screamed off the upright, they allowed Leitrim take the initiative and Gerry Hickey, Mulligan and Brendan Brennan brought the gap back to the minimum before Paul Kinnerk ensured the home victory with a late point.
Scorers for Limerick: E O’Connor 0-7 (5fs), J O’Meara 0-2, S Lavin, P Kinnerk 0-1 each.
Scorers for Leitrim: E Mulligan 0-5 (3fs), P Brennan, A Croal, G Hickey, B Brennan 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: B Scanlon; C Coady, J McCarthy, M O’Riordan; S Lavin, P Browne, P Ranahan; T Lee, B O’Brien; I Corbett, J Riordan, J O’Meara; E O’Connor, S O’Carroll, D O’Connor.
Subs: P Kinnerk for T Lee (61), D Treacy for I Corbett (67).
LEITRIM: C McCrann; D Beck, P Maguire; C Clarke, P Brennan, A Wynne; W McKeon, P McGowan; A Croal, E Mulligan, G Hickey; R Cox, J Glancy, B McDonald.
Subs: B Brennan for P McGowan (42), K Conlon for B McDonald (50), S McWeeney for C Clarke (53), C Beirne for R Cox (54), C Reynolds for J Glancy (66).
Referee: D O’Mahony (Tipperary).