Limerick 1-20 Westmeath 0-15
Operation transformation for the Limerick hurlers continued at the Gaelic Grounds today when they beat Westmeath - but not without a scare. Indeed, the final scoreline was flattering to Limerick.
All looked well when Donal O'Grady side's led 0-05 to 0--2 inside eight minutes, but rapid-fire points by Derek McNicholas, Ciaran Curley and Dan Carthy (free) had Westmeath level by the quarter hour. The alarm bells began to ring for Limerick when they went in at the break with just a one-point lead.
O'Grady brought on Brian Geary and Pat Tobin for the start of the second half and Tobin was in the action for only four minutes when he raced on to a handpass from Kevin Downes to blast past goalkeeper Pat Burke.
The goal left the Shannonsiders 1-12 to 0-09 in front with Eoin Ryan notching the opening point seconds after the restart. Limerick never looked back after that but it took two great saves from Nicky Quaid to deny Westmeath's Brendan Murtagh and McNicholas.
O'Grady was happy with the win but he knows only too well that bigger challenges are on the horizon for his side who will have to play better than they did in the first half.
Stephen Lucey did well at full-back until he take off during the interval to assist the Limerick footballers tomorrow afternoon. Seamus Hickey did well at centre-back for the victors, while Ryan was the pick of the forwards.
Westmeath were disappointed with the final scorline but it was not the fault of Paul Greville, Eoin Price and Andrew Mitchell in defence, while Brendan Murtagh and Brian Smyth impressed in attack.
Scorers - Limerick: J Ryan, R McCarthy (0-04f) 0-05 each, E Ryan 0-04 (0-03f 0-01 '65'), P Tobin 1-01, D O'Grady, N Maher 0-02 each, A O'Shaughnessy 0-01
Westmeath: A Mitchell 0-04 (0-01f, 0-01 '65'), D Carthy 0-03 (0-02f), E Price, B Smyth, B Murtagh (0-01f) 0-02 each, N Flanagan, C Curley 0-01 each
LIMERICK: N Quaid; S Walsh, S Lucey, D Moloney; W McNamara, S Hickey, P O'Brien; D O'Grady, E Ryan; R McCarthy, J Ryan, N Maher; A O'Shaughnessy, K Downes, G Mulcahy.
Subs used: B Geary for Lucey, P Tobin for O'Shaughnessy (both half-time), K O'Rourke for O'Brien, B Hourigan for McCarthy (both 67 mins).
WESTMEATH: P Burke; R Whelan, P Greville, E Price; P Gilsenan, A Mitchell, J Shaw; N Flanagan, C Curley; B Smyth, D McNicholas, B Murtagh; A Devine, B Leharte, S carthy.
Subs used: J Clarke for Carthy, C Mackey for Leharte (both 47 mins), D Golden for Devine, A Prior for Curley (both 65).
Referee: Anthony Stapleton (Laois)