Ryan hails Limerick’s battling qualities

Wexford 3-18, Limerick 4-1

Ryan hails  Limerick’s battling qualities

After trailing for a long spell yesterday, the Treaty men turned the game around to gain two valuable points in their push for promotion over a battling Wexford outfit.

It was never going to be a repeat of their last meeting when Limerick recorded a 23-points All-Ireland quarter-final championship victory as Wexford turned in a huge performance, leading 3-8 to 1-6 after 25 minutes despite playing into the stiff breeze.

Things looked bleak for Limerick but they stuck to their game-plan, with a fortuitous Shane Dowling goal from a 40 metre free in the 30th minute hauling them right back into the game. But it was their late flourish of scores following some slip-shod defending that eventually turned the game in their favour.

But Manager T.J Ryan was pleased with how his players coped:

“We’re delighted with the way we ground it out. It was always likely to come down to the wire for Division 2 is a very tight division.

“At the same time when we went eight points down in the first half the lads battled back before half-time. It was similar in the second half going three points down after getting back level, before we eventually got the winning scores late on. These narrow wins are good for character. We had a huge effort and promotion is now possibly in our own hands.”

But for Wexford manager Liam Dunne it was a different story: “We handed them the game. We had it won on several occasions but failed to put them away. We chose to clear three successive balls out to unmarked players eventually leading to their fourth goal. Make mistakes like that at this level and you will be punished. We will take many positives but we now must deliver big performances against Laois and Waterford.

Limerick led 0-3 to 0-1 after five minutes but a delightful goal from Liam Óg McGovern in the seventh minute had the home side 1-1 to 0-3 in front.

After John Fitzgibbon marked his first competitive debut with a beautiful first-time ground shot to the net, giving his side a 1-4 to 1-2 lead, Wexford responded with goals from Jack Guiney and McGovern that helped them into a 3-8 to 1-6 lead after 25 minutes.

Five minutes before the break Shane Dowling appeared to miss-hit a 40 metre free but somehow the ball ended up in the net, leaving Wexford leading 3-9 to 2-9 at the interval.

The ever reliable Jack Guiney stretched Wexford into a four point lead on 41 minutes, but three minutes later Declan Hannon pounced on a breaking ball to send a ground shot to the net, leaving the minimum separating the sides, 3-10 to 3-9.

With Ian Byrne, Guiney and sub Podge Doran picking off excellent points, Wexford stretched into a 3-16 to 3-13 lead, but Limerick remained patient and a David Breen goal four minutes from the end had the sides level once again, 4-14 to 3-17.

A Guiney pointed free had Wexford back in front, but Dowling remained accurate with a levelling pointed free before O’Brien shot over an excellent winning point as the game moved into additional time.

WEXFORD: M Fanning; L Ryan, T Waters, E Moore; P Foley, M O’Hanlon, L Chin; D Redmond (0-2), D O’Keeffe (0-1); H Kehoe (0-1), D Waters, I Byrne (0-2); P Morris (0-3), J Guiney (1-6, 0-6 frees), L Óg McGovern (2-1).

Subs: C McDonald for Morris (46); P Doran (0-2) for Byrne (54).

LIMERICK: N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy, S Hickey; C Allis, W McNamara (0-1), D Morrissey; J Ryan, P Browne; J Fitzgibbon (1-2), D O’Grady, D Hannon (1-3); D Reidy (0-1), S Dowling (1-6, 0-5 frees, 0-1, 65), D Breen (1-1).

Subs: C Lynch for Reidy (43); S Tobin (0-1) for O’Grady (51); S O’Brien (0-1) for Browne.

Referee: J Ryan (Tipperary).

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