Limerick’s league campaign petered out with the slightest of resistance as Galway simply had too much for the home side in a 1-21 to 1-11 point win.
Yesterday’s timid performance will go a long way in banishing the good work to overturn Cork a fortnight ago.
In truth, Galway displayed a far superior skill set, and most worryingly for John Kiely, a superior work-rate, something which will no sit well with the Limerick management.
The Limerick GAA supporters expect a minimum of intensity, pressure and work-rate, all of which were completely absent in front of 9,523 spectators at the Gaelic Grounds.
Galway opened stronger than their hosts and would never relinquish a lead that would be 0-3 to 0-1 after 10 minutes. Diarmaid Byrnes, responded with a fine long range score, but the Tribesmen would always have Limerick at arms length, responding with scores when necessary.
Conor Cooney, Conor Whelan and Cathal Mannion has pushed the Galway lead out to four half way through the first period when Limerick got the game’s opening goal courtesy of William O’Donoghue. The Na Piarsaigh man improvised well to finish with his boot after club mate David Dempsey put him through.
Dempsey and O’Donoghue were industrious in their play, often close to making an impact, but bottled up by Galway once they sniffed any danger. Gearoid McInerney and Paraic Mahony were excellent anchoring the defence for the visitors from the half back line.
Galway responded quickly to the goal landing three consecutive points to cancel out Limerick’s goal while Joe Canning’s impact was becoming more apparent.
Operating at centre forward, he drifted out the field and won a lot of ball. He was helped by the fact that his marker Declan Hannon was taken off injured early in the half to be replaced by Gavin O’Mahony.
Cian Lynch and Shane Dowling scored for the hosts prior to half time to leave the score 1-5 to 0-13, with Limerick also having the advantage of a breeze in that opening period.
The second half started slowly and Galway seemed to rest on their lead. Dowling and Canning traded points in the opening minutes which was rife with wides.
Barry Nash was introduced in the 48th minute and his movement began to cause problems for Galway. His appearance seemed to lift Limerick and minutes after his introduction, his point would reduce the gap to 1-9 to 0-15, approaching the final 10 minutes of the game.
Yet Galway, would flex their muscles immediately in reply. a long ball into Conor Cooney was dispatched to the net expertly after the corner-forward disposed of Richie English with too much ease.
Cooney was a threat all day which is a real bonus for Galway as he has failed to live up to the hype he promised a few years back when he arrived on the scene.
The final 10 minutes saw Limerick push for a response but in truth a goal never looked likely. John Fitzgibbon was introduced and he showed glimpses of his talent, but failed to make the desired impact as Limerick simply couldn’t make inroads into Galway’s lead.
Galway on the other hand were quick and clinical in their play. They were lead by the excellent Johnny Coen and David Burke in midfield. These two harassed Limerick all day and were also clever going forward, often venturing on long forays into the Limerick half.
The game would finish 1-21 to 1-11 with Galway romping home to a 10 point victory, which could have been more, so poor was Limerick’s performance.
With no more competitive games between now and the opening round of the Munster Championship, Kiely must find a way to reinvigorate his team or Limerick will be looking into the back door sooner than expected.
Kiely’s team have had purple patches in some of the games this year but have bar the Cork game, they have failed to put tighter a complete 70 minute performance.
It’s something that will irk Kiely but something that needs addressing sooner rather than later. This Limerick team has talent but needs to stay switched in on games.
Against the better teams, lapses in concentration are costly. It was very much the case in yesterday’s game. Limerick didn’t settle and before they knew it, they were playing catch up.
For the Treatymen, it’s back to the drawing board and refocusing on Clare in the Munster Championship.
Limerick: Shane Dowling 0-5 (0-4 frees); William O’Donoghue 1-0; Barry Nash 0-2; Diarmaid Byrnes, David Dempsey, Cian Lynch, John Fitzgibbon 0-1 each.
Galway: Conor Cooney 1-4; Joe Canning 0-7 (0-6 frees); Cathal Mannion 0-4; Conor Whelan 0-2; Padriac Mannion, Johnny Coen, David Burke, Thomas Monaghan 0-1 each
LIMERICK: Nickie Quaid; Richie English, Richie McCarthy, Mike Casey; Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon, Seamus Hickey; Alan Dempsey, William O’Donoghue; Shane Dowling, David Dempsey, Gearoid Hegarty; Cian Lynch, Kyle Hayes, Graeme Mulcahy.
Subs: Gavin O’Mahony for Declan Hannon (15); Sean Finn for Seamus Hickey (38); Barry Nash for Graeme Mulcahy (48); John Fitzgibbon for David Dempsey (52); James Ryan for Alan Dempsey (52)
GALWAY: Colm Callanan; Adrian Tuohy, John Hanbury, Aidan Harte; Padraic Mannion, Gearoid McInerney, Daithi Burke; Johnny Coen, David Burke; Padraig Brehony, Joe Canning, Joseph Cooney; Conor Whelan, Cathal Mannion, Conor Cooney.
Subs: Thomas Monaghan for Padraig Breheny (53); Paul Killeen for John Hambury (54); Niall Burke for Joseph Cooney (62); Jason Flynn for Conor Whelan (65); Sean Loftus for David Burke (67)