Limerick started their All-Ireland Intermediate Ladies Football with a 3-15 to 3-5 loss to Kildare at the LIT Gaelic Grounds.
John Ryan’s side made a superb start to the game with goals from Iris Kenneally and Mairead Kavanagh inside four minutes, but Kildare hit back to lead by eight points at half time.
Limerick got off to the fastest of starts when Kenneally raced on to Eimear Ryan’s pass and rounded Dervla McGinn to score into an empty net.
Neasa Dooley immediately responded with a point for Kildare, but Limerick were in for a second goal moments later when Kavanagh finished off a fine team move.
That was as good as it got for Limerick as Kildare fired back into the game with points from Ellen Dowling and Orlaith Sullivan, before Mikaela McKenna levelled the game with their first goal.
A Lara Curran free gave Kildare the lead and then Dooley’s well executed finish gave The Lilywhites a 2-4 to 2-0 lead after 14 minutes.
Kildare dominated the rest of the half with Sullivan and Dooley very much to the fore. All six Kildare forwards had scored by the time Kavanagh got Limerick’s first score in 17 minutes
Kenneally soon got a second point for Limerick and that left the score at 2-10 to 2-2 in Kildare’s favour at half time.
Kildare were never in danger of losing control of the contest with three early scores from Sullivan in the second half ensuring victory.
Limerick rallied through a Cathy Mee penalty 10 minutes from time, but it wasn’t enough to stem the Kildare tide, and Dooley’s late goal gave them a convincing 3-15 to 3-5.
Scorers – Limerick: Iris Kenneally and Mairead Kavanagh 1-1 each, Cathy Mee 1-0 (pen), Orlaith O’Donoghue 0-2 (2f), Catriona Davis 0-1 (1f),
LIMERICK: Rebecca McGuinness; Rebekah Daly, Olivia Giltenane, Kristine Reidy; Megan O’Shea, Niamh Ryan, Carla Sheehy; Loretta Hanley, Rebecca Delee; Roisin Ambrose, Mairead Kavanagh, Iris Kenneally; Cathy Mee, Cartriona Davis, Eimear Ryan.
Subs: Cliodhna Ni Cheallaigh for E Ryan (h-t) Orlaith O’Donoghue for Davis (39 mins), Louise Ryan for Kavanagh (53 mins), Katie Heelan for Mee (55 mins), Ava Hartigan for Giltenane (60 mins).