Limerick 1-25 Wexford 3-15
THE sun shone on Ballybricken-Bohermore yesterday evening, reward from above for several months of hard work as two near full-strength teams lined out for this senior hurling challenge to mark the official opening of their splendid new GAA complex, the ribbon cut by Munster Council Secretary Pat Fitzgerald from nearby Doon.
It was 1-12 to 1-9 at the break, just three points in it, but there was a major difference between the sides in the source of those scores. Where Limerick had a good spread, Andrew O’Shaughnessy (five pointed frees), Donal O’Grady (1-0), Niall Moran (0-2), Kevin Ryan (0-2), Eoin Ryan, Mike O’Brien and Paudie O’Dwyer (one point each), a reflection of the balance in the team, Wexford were almost totally reliant on free-taker Stephen Nolan, who hit all but one point of their first-half total, Darren Stamp with that single minor.
The second half was more of the same, Limerick again spreading the scoring workload, half-time midfield substitute Kevin Tobin coming in with a fine haul of four points (one a sideline beauty from 40m), Mike O’Brien (0-2), Eoin Ryan (0-2), O’Dwyer, Kevin Ryan, O’Shaughnessy (another free) and substitute Donie Ryan all pitching in with a point apiece.
For Wexford it was again Nolan as scorer-in-chief, another five points, but Stephen Doyle and Eoin Quigley did manage a goal apiece, albeit both of the gift variety, Doyle also managing a point.
The signs for Limerick manager Richie Bennis are encouraging. “A nice workout, we learned a bit, it was a chance for the lads who were injured to get back on the road again. I don’t like to name names, but James Ryan in midfield, his work-rate in the first-half especially was very good, Kevin Ryan at wing-forward was good, Eoin Ryan is a nice hurler, he’s a natural forward, one of the areas we’re short. Young [Kieran] O’Rourke at corner-back was very good also, still only 20.”
One worry though, the three soft goals conceded. “Oh, very soft, but if Stephen Lucey and Damien Reale had been there for the hour those wouldn’t be conceded. Three more challenge matches now, Tipperary next week then Kilkenny and Dublin, but we’re hoping to play Galway as well on the Wednesday fortnight before the championship.”
For Wexford manager John Meyler, problems. “Richie Keogh went to America so we had to try something at wing-back, I thought Mick Jacob hurled quite well there tonight. It was a long bus trip down here, with a stop for food in Tipperary included, not helpful to putting on a good performance. We still have things to work on, our first touch is still not good enough.”
Scorers – Limerick: A. O’Shaughnessy 0-6 (all frees); K. Tobin 0-4 (0-1 s/l); K. Ryan 0-3; M. O’Brien 0-3; E. Ryan 0-3 (0-2 frees); D. O’Grady 1-0; N. Moran 0-2; P. O’Dwyer 0-2 (free, 65); S. O’Connor, D. Ryan, 0-1 each.
Wexford: S. Nolan 1-12 (0-6 frees 0-1 65); S. Doyle 1-1; E. Quigley 1-0; C. Farrell, D. Stamp, 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: B. Murray; D. Reale, D. Cosgrove, K. O’Rourke; P. Lawlor, P. O’Dwyer, S. Hickey; D. O’Grady, J. Ryan; K. Ryan, S. O’Connor, M. O’Brien; E. Ryan, N. Moran, A. O’Shaughnessy. Subs: D. Bulfin (Murray 35); M. Foley (Reale 35); K. Tobin (O’Grady 35); W. McNamara (Hickey 39); D. Ryan (O’Shaughnessy 52).
WEXFORD: D. Fitzhenry; M. Travers, J. O’Connor, P. Roche; M. Jacob, D. O’Connor, C. Kenny; T. Dwyer, C. Farrell; PJ Nolan, D. Stamp, S. Doyle; E. Quigley, S. Nolan, R. Jacob. Subs: MJ Furlong (Dwyer 43); M. Doyle (R. Jacob 50); S. Banville (Doyle 60); B. O’Leary (Farrell 61); J. Roche (P. Roche inj. 69).
Referee: D. Richardson (Murroe-Boher).
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved