Limerick’s 2019 Football championship came to an end in Mullingar on Saturday evening as Westmeath emerged winners on a 2-13 to 1-10 scoreline.
Despite the defeat, Billy Lee’s side died with their boots on and exit the 2019 with plenty of positives and lots to work on heading into next year’s league campaign.
The opening chance fell to Limerick but Jamie Lee missed a difficult free inside the opening minute. Boidu Sayeh then cleared and found Tommy McDaniel in space with a clever ball.
McDaniel – a late replacement for Dennis Corroon – opened Westmeath’s account with a well taken point off his left leg.
Limerick settled well though and drew level with a well worked Gordon Brown points. Ian Corbett immediately added a second as Billy Lee’s side edged into a one point lead.
The two scores by the Limerick half backs spurred the home side into action a point from Kieran Martin and two from Ger Egan (1 free) pushed Westmeath into a 2 point lead.
Limerick were struggling to retain possession from their kickouts but their general build up play when in position was constructive and positive if not always yielding the desired effect on the scoreboard.
Jamie Lee added a well taken free before Ger Egan landed his third and fourth points of the game to make it Westmeath 0-6 Limerick 0-3 after 19 minutes.
Another good attack from Limerick forced a foul on the 21metre line as Seamus O’Carroll was brought down. Jamie Lee converted easily to keep Limerick tipping along nicely.
The Newcastlewest man was again to the fore with an excellent point from play on the half hour having one the ball back after loosing possession.
It was 0-7 to 0-5 with two 3 minutes including injury time remaining. Time to close the half out and head to the dressing rooms just two points behind.
The home team however had other ideas. Ronan O’Toole and Callum McCormack added points from play as the ratcheted up the tempo. A huge blow to Limerick’s hopes came with a scruffy James Dolan shot squeezed its way past Donal O’Sullivan in the Limerick goal.
The lead went from a manageable two to a sizeable seven points in the space of three minutes and left Limerick with a difficult task for the second half.
It was effectively put beyond Limerick in the first minute of the second half. A cheap turnover and Ger Egan found Ronan Wallace with a long ball. Wallace offloaded to Joe Halligan who fired to the back of the net.
Jamie Lee cancelled out the goal within 7 minutes as he knocked over three frees to make it 2-09 to 0-8.
Egan and McCormack added quick fire points as Westmeath moved into a nine point lead.
Darragh Treacy then went on a surging run at the heart of the Limerick defence and fired bobbling shot which came off goalkeeper Eoin Carberry and rebounded back on Treacy’s knee to cross the line for a goal.
Seamus O’Carroll added a superb long range point off balance to make it a five point game. A Donal O’Sullivan free reduced it to 4 with ten minutes remaining.
Westmeath needed a settling score and it came through a fins strike from John Heslin. The score stopped the rot and the sense of relief from the home crowd was palpable. Egan landed another free as the game ticked into injury time to extend the lead to six.
It would be the last score of the game as the full time whistle blew and Westmeath progressed to the next round at Limerick’s expense. Harsh lessons learned but the kind of performance that all Limerick football people can be proud of.