Evan Niland stars as slick Galway see off Limerick

Galway 1-14 Limerick 0-13: Galway boss Jeffrey Lynskey is relishing the prospect of locking horns with Kilkenny in the Electric Ireland All-Ireland minor hurling semi-final on August 16.

Galway saw off Munster runners-up Limerick by four points in yesterday’s quarter-final, with Evan Niland landing nine points for the Westerners.

But Lynskey believes his side will need a stronger showing to compete with the All-Ireland champions at Croke Park.

He said: “In the semi-final now, we need to up it another 10% at least. Any day you take on Kilkenny is enjoyable. They’re the benchmark for all of us.”

But Galway’s rate of progress under Lynskey is impressive, as he explained that this victory bucked the trend of recent clashes between the counties in the underage grades.

“I had those lads since they were U16,” he said. “We played Limerick at U16 level and they beat us by 22 points. At U17 it was 12 points so in three years there’s progress and development in them.

“The workrate was huge. We’re coaching the boys that and the team played well and kicked in when the pressure came on.”

Niland, despite hitting four wides, was the star turn and Jack Grealish scored the Galway goal in the 36th minute.

It was a fine solo effort from the midfielder, and while Limerick battled gamely to the finish, getting back to within three points in the final minute, sub Cianan Fahy slotted over the insurance score.

In greasy conditions, and despite playing against the breeze in the first half, Limerick were just a point behind at half-time, 0-8 to 0-9.

The Shannonsiders got off to a poor start, falling four points behind before registering their opening score in the ninth minute, with Cian Magner-Flynn on target.

Niland was Galway’s main scoring threat, however, and after Limerick had worked themselves back into contention, 0-4 to 0-5 behind, four unanswered points had Galway 0-9 to 0-4 clear.

Niland hit three of those, including two from placed balls, but Limerick’s response was impressive before half-time.

The Treaty boys landed four successive points themselves, with their final score before half-time courtesy of goalkeeper Eoghan McNamara’s booming long-range free.

But Galway got a perfect second-half start with Niland slotting over two points from placed balls before Grealish struck to establish a 1-11 to 0-8 lead.

The gap was out to seven points when Niland nailed another free as Peter Casey’s point finally broke Limerick’s duck 12 minutes into the second half.

Scorers for Galway:

E Niland 0-9 (5f, 2 65s), J Grealish 1-0, B Concannon, T Monaghan, F Burke, M Lynch & C Fahy 0-1 each.

Scorers for Limerick:

P Casey 0-5 (4f), C Magner-Flynn & E McNamara (1f, 1 65) 0-2 each, O O’Reilly, K Hayes, B Murphy & M Mackey 0-1 each.

GALWAY:

D Gilligan; S Bannon, J Fitzpatrick, K O’Connor, C Mulry, I O’Brien, A Greaney; J Grealish, J Coyne; B Concannon, T Monaghan, F Burke; M Lynch, E Niland, S Loftus.

Subs:

C Fahy for Coyne (46), L Forde for Lynch (55), P Foley for Burke (60+1).

LIMERICK:

E McNamara; O O’Reilly, C McSweeney, J O’Grady; C Byrnes, C Houlihan, S Flanagan; T Grimes, D O’Carroll; M Mackey, B Murphy, P Casey; K Hayes, P O’Loughlin, C Magner-Flynn.

Subs:

C O’Connor for O’Loughlin (38), B McPartland for D Carroll (40), C Carroll for Houlihan (43), C Boylan for Mackey (44), W O’Meara for Magner-Flynn (56), T Hayes for O’Connor (temp 58-60+1).

Referee:

T Carroll (Offaly)


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