Limerick senior hurlers notched another challenge game success with a 0-27 to 2-19 win over Waterford at Fraher Field, yesterday evening.
It follows on from a victory over Cork in their last outing and while nobody will get carried away with the result it is another small progression as John Kiely prepares his side for the Munster SHC semi final with Clare in Thurles on June 4th.
Limerick were far from perfect but John Kiely will certainly be happy with the manner in which they finished the game, coming from seven points down to end up winning by two.
For their part Waterford retreated into their shell after building what should have been a winning lead. The Deise simply sat back and invited Limerick onto them and to their credit Limerick took their chances.
Just two weeks ago Limerick were 2-25 to 4-17 winners over Cork in another pre-championship challenge.
The Limerick line up certainly had a busy weekend as there was a full round of Limerick SHC club games over the weekend but the players showed no signs of fatigue. The were some absentees due to knocks and also the fact that there were some club games played on Sunday also.
As could be expected in a challenge match, the opening half was a sluggish affair with both sides exchanging scores.
Thomas Ryan then got the first goal of the game in the 21st minute to give Waterford a 1-7 to 0-6 point lead. Ryan was impressive for the home side, totalling 1-2 in the first half.
Patrickswell’s Cian Lynch was Limerick’s best performer of the half accounting for four points of Limerick’s tally.
Derek McGrath’s side took at 1-10 to 0-9 point lead in at the break.
Waterford made widespread changes for the second half whereas Limerick introduced Shane Dowling and Graeme Mulcahy.
While Waterford introduced an almost new team for the second half, Limerick didn’t have that luxury but among those to see action were Shane Dowling and Graeme Mulcahy.
Shane Bennett had Waterford’s second goal eight minutes into the second half for a 2-10 to 0-11 lead but three pointed frees from Shane Dowling kept Limerick on Waterford’s coat tails as they trailed by 5 points.
With sixty minutes on the clock, Limerick further reduced the arrears to just four points as Waterford held a 2-18 to 0-20 point lead.
Na Piarsaigh’s Shane Dowling was keeping the scoreboard ticking over and accounted for an impressive seven points.
Paul Browne levelled the game 0-24 to 2-18 in the 69th minute and then Limerick added another three points to secure the win.
It was a good performance given the amount of players that were also involved in club action over the weekend but, challenge games will count for little as we head towards the Munster Championship
John Kiely knows this and has to master the difficult task of balancing sharpness, fitness and recovery between now and the Clare showdown in Thurles.