Limerick Desmond League ran out convincing 4-0 winners in the Oscar Traynor derby against Limerick District League. Goals from Kevin Murphy, Pa Ahern (x2) and Timmy Larkin set the home side on their way at Clounreask on Tuesday night.
Limerick District League made three changes to the team that defeated Clare District League last week as Keith Mawdsley, AJ O’Connor and Adrian Power replaced Connor Ellis, Eoin Hanrahan and Clyde O’Connell.
Jim Neenan’s Desmond side made an extremely fast start and took an early lead as Darren Murphy picked up possession on the edge of the box and drove a shot beyond Neville and into the bottom corner.
Before Limerick District League had time to react, they were on the backfoot once more and paid the price. Murphy had far too much time to release the dangerous Pa Ahern, who made a clever run in behind both Pat Mullins and John Mullane and the attacker was upended in the box by the former. Referee Pat O’Connor wasted no time in awarding the penalty which Ahern confidently stroked home.
The District League were lethargic throughout but came close to grabbing a goal back when midfielder Shane Walsh released Keith Mawdsley down the right hand side and the Pike Rovers man fizzed a cross in the direction Kieran Hanlon who couldn’t direct it goalwards on the stretch.
As we approached half time, Neenan’s side missed a guilt edge chance to extend their lead as Kevin Murphy raced clear on the right flank beyond Michael Guerin and his cross wasn’t dealt with by Mullins before Fiachra Cotter scooped over from six yards. It was a big let off for the visitors.
The game was virtually put to bed as we awaited the half time whistle when Ahern made one of his trademark looping runs in behind and forced a save from Gary Neville but the striker picked out left winger Timmy Larkin, who tapped home from close range on the second phase of the attack.
The game became frantic after the third goal with John Grehan’s side desperately pushing for a quick goal in response. Substitute Clyde O’Connell met a James Fitzgerald corner but goalkeeper Patrick Stack put enough pressure on the left-back off to put him off.
As the game opened up, Gary Enright was finding a lot of space and he skipped by the challenges of Mullins and substitute James Fitzgerald before shooting straight at Neville.
Moments later, Ahern put the result beyond any doubt when he pounced upon a short back-pass from O’Connell and slotted the ball past the helpless Neville. O’Connell almost made some amends when his ferocious strike came back off the crossbar with five minutes left.
The Desmond League almost made it the perfect five as Ahern played a superbly waited through ball to Enright but Neville was alert to close the angle and smother the shot in what proved to be the final chance of the game.
The result means that Limerick Desmond League are now top of the group with four points and they leapfrog Limerick District League, who are currently on three points after two games. Both sides will be eagerly awaiting the result from the meeting of Clare and Kerry, which takes place in two weeks time.
Limerick Desmond League: Patrick Stack, Cormac Roche (Bryan Hannigan), Joe McAuliffe, Sean O’Shea, Alan O’Shea, Fiachra Cotter (Jamie Keane), Gary Enright, Timmy Larkin (Gery Culhane), Darren Murphy, Kevin Murphy (Jack Hennessy), Pa Ahern
Limerick District League: Gary Neville, Danny O’Neill, Pat Mullins, John Mullane, Michael Guerin (Clyde O’Connell), AJ O’Connor (Thomas Clarke), Shane Walsh, Colin Daly, Adrian Power, Kieran Hanlon (Connor Ellis), Keith Mawdsley (James Fitzgerald).