GALWAY concluded their championship preparations when a late goal from substitute Eanna Ryan sealed a six-point win at Athenry on Saturday in a game which was played over three 25-minute periods.
Galway made the most of the wind advantage in the first and third periods to secure the win in their final warm-up match before their Leinster quarter-final against Westmeath next Saturday.
A bright start from both teams saw Graham Mulcahy and Joe Gantley find the target for either side, but after seven minutes Alan Kerins — playing his first inter-county match for three years — had a great chance of a goal, but Damien Reale did well to get back and smother his attempt.
But Galway accelerated after that and hit six points in an 11-minute spell, which left Limerick floundering.
Gantley slotted a fine score from an acute angle to make it two points each after nine minutes play. Three frees from David Burke pushed Galway three ahead and then two excellent points from midfield inside a minute from John Lee gave Galway a 0-7 to 0-2 lead after 20 minutes.
But after 21 minutes, the combination of Mulcahy and Richie McCarthy punished Galway for a slip in defence as McCarthy somehow managed to find the net from a near-impossible angle. Mulcahy then pointed immediately and another Gantley point from play gave Galway a 0-8 to 1-3 lead at the interval.
A scrappy second period saw both managers ring the changes, but Galway raced into a five-point lead with a good point from Damien Hayes and a pair of frees from Aonghus Callanan, who accepted the dead-ball duties from the substituted Burke.
Two long range frees from Brian Geary were followed by a sweetly-struck free by Hayes as Galway regained control, but a poor puck-out from James Skehill was finished off by full-forward Paudie McNamara to leave it 0-12 to 1-6 at the second break.
Both benches were emptied for the third period as John McIntyre and Donal O’Grady took a good look at their extended panel, but it was Galway’s Eanna Ryan that caught the eye. He hit a fine score from the right seconds after his introduction to push Galway four in front, but Limerick soon regained their composure and Niall Moran and Mulcahy both pointed to leave two between the sides. The outstanding Callanan brought his tally to five points for the day with scores in the 6th and 13th minutes of the period, but a pair of points from Eoin Ryan brought Limerick back into it once again.
But that was Limerick’s lot, as Galway substitute Aidan Harte hit a great point from play in the 19th minute, which was quickly followed by the clinching goal. Callanan climbed highest at the edge of the square and laid off the pass to the on-runshing Ryan, who and he crashed the ball home.
Scorers for Galway: A Callanan 0-5 (2fs), E Ryan 1-1, D Burke (3fs), J Gantley 0-3 each, J Lee, A Harte, D Hayes (1f) 0-2 each, J Regan 0-1.
Scorers for Limerick: E Ryan 0-4 (2fs), R McCarthy 1-1, G Mulcahy, N Moran, B Geary (2fs) 0-2 each, P McNamara, P Tobin 0-1 each.
GALWAY: J Skehill; J Coen, D Collins, F Moore; J Lee, T Og Regan, A Cullinane; D Burke, K Hynes; B Daly, C Donnellan, A Kerins; D Hayes, J Gantley, A Callanan.
Subs: J Regan, N Donoghue, D Joyce, S Kavanagh, E Ryan, A Smith, D Barry, A Harte.
LIMERICK: N Quaid; D Reale, S Lucey, T Conlon; W McNamara, B Geary, G O’Mahoney; D O’Grady, J Ryan; T O’Brien, E Ryan, N Moran; G Mulcahy, P McNamara, R McCarthy.
Referee: T Carroll (Offaly).
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