Sharp Limerick a step too far for sluggish Galway

Aidan Harte, left, and TJ Brennan of Galway in action against Darren O’Connell of Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Aidan Harte, left, and TJ Brennan of Galway in action against Darren O’Connell of Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

A surge at the end of the first half and right at the start of the second saw Galway eventually fall to an inevitable eight-point reverse in front of 14,000 fans on Sunday afternoon.

Buoyed by a facile win over Westmeath in the opening weekend, it was always going to be tough against a team who had defeated the All-Ireland champions the week before, and so it proved to be for Galway.

Limerick were first out of the blocks against the wind, and could have had three goals in the opening period, but Galway, bolstered by Joe Canning, reined them in and the visitors managed to lead on several occasions.

However, Limerick hit six scores without reply to turn a reverse into a three-point interval lead and when David Dempsey goaled within a minute of the restart, Galway’s goose was cooked.

Things turned worse when Canning injured a hand and had to be replaced and from then on, there was only going to be one winner.

In the first half, the home side should have been much further ahead, but their wastefulness left the visitors in the game.

All of the Limerick forwards got their names on the scoresheet before halftime with David Reidy leading the way, scoring six.

They led by 0-4 to 0-2 after nine minutes, but Galway rallied and a point from wing-back Aidan Harte and two from Joe Canning, one of them a free, edged the Tribesmen 0-5 to 0-4 in front.

Two more efforts from Reidy were responded to by Conor Whelan and a brace from Canning to lead by 0-8 to 0-6 ten minutes from the break.

Limerick then took over and landed the next six scores, with Seamus Flanagan’s effort flying over the bar after pressure by TJ Brennan to leave it 0-12 to 0-8 approaching the break but Canning gave Galway hope with his sixth point and second from play.

Limerick struck a telling blow a minute after the restart when a cross from Flanagan was fielded by Dempsey over Sean Loftus and he dispatched the ball into the bottom left corner of the net.

Galway responded with three points in a row from Canning, Shane Cooney and Whelan to cut the gap to a goal again after 45 minutes.

The next three points came from Limerick as Gearoid Hegarty, sub Aaron Gillane and a superb effort from William O’Donoghue to lead by 1-16 to 0-13 with 12 minutes left.

Subs Sean Bleahane and Darren O’Connell then exchanged points and despite two frees which were aimed directly at goal — the second of which hit the bar, Galway failed to raise the green flags they needed to instil late panic in the Limerick rearguard.

LIMERICK: Nicky Quaid; Aaron Costello, Sean Finn, Richie English; Dan Morrissey, Declan Hannon (0-1 ), Barry Nash; Darragh O’Donovan, William O’Donoghue (0-1 ); David Reidy (0-7 ), Tom Morrissey (0-2 ), Gearoid Hegarty (0-2 ); David Dempsey (1-1 ) , Seamus Flanagan (0-1 ), Graeme Mulcahy (0-1 ).

Subs: Cian Lynch for O’Donovan (blood 4-6 ), Tom Condon for English (half-time ), Diarmaid Byrnes for Hannon (40 ), Aaron Gillane (0-2 ) for Flanagan (54 ), Darren O’Connell (0-1 ) for Dempsey (60 ), Brian Ryan for Reidy (65 ).

GALWAY: Eanna Murphy; Sean Loftus, Gearoid Morrissey, TJ Brennan; Padraic Mannion, Shane Cooney, (0-1 ) Aidan Harte (0-1 ); Adrian Tuohey, Sean Linnane; Diarmuid Kilcommins, Cathal Mannion (0-1 ), Joe Canning (0-7 ); Jason Flynn, Conor Whelan (0-2 ), Brian Concannon.

Subs: Conor Cooney (0-1 ) for Concannon (half-time ), Sean Bleahane (0-1 ) for Canning (47 ), Darragh Burke for Kilcommins (52 ), Paul Killeen for Loftus (54 ), Jack Grealish for Linnane (65 ).


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