By Tom Clancy in O’Moore Park
Limerick fell to their first ever Tailteann Cup defeat, losing out by seven points to Wicklow in O’Moore Park, Portlaoise.
Played before a small support, these sides both knew that the result was of little significance, with Limerick guaranteed top spot, and the Garden County already eliminated after defeats to Carlow and Wicklow. These sides will meet again in Division Three in 2024, and Wicklow laid some bit of a marker with a deserved victory.
Despite starting with three of the first four scores, Limerick struggled for long periods. Efforts from James Naughton and Peter Nash had them 0-3 to 0-1 clear by the 15th minute, but there was little joy for the remainder of the half.
Wicklow kicked 1-5 without reply, with their goal, from the impressive John Paul Nolan pushing them into the driving seat. Naughton and Hugh Bourke closed the half with points to leave it 1-6 to 0-5 at half-time.
Mark Jackson saved from Naughton seconds into the second-half with Limerick searching for a goal that may have sparked them into life. But they trailed by as many as six points midway through the second half.
Cathal Downes and Brian Donovan landed quick-fire points before a goal hauled them to within one. Robbie Bourke was felled by Jackson under a high-delivery, before captain Iain Corbett dispatched to the top corner.
An immediate goal at the other end, from Jack Kirwan, put Oisin McConville’s men firmly clear, killing off the last 10 minutes at the sun-drenched midlands venue.
Limerick await their opposition for the quarter-final which takes place on 17/18 June.
Scorers for Limerick: James Naughton 0-3 (0-3 frees); Iain Corbett 1-0 (pen); Brian Donovan 0-2; Peter Nash, Hugh Bourke, Cian Sheehan, Cathal Downes, Killian Ryan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Wicklow: John Paul Nolan 1-3 (0-1 free, 0-1 mark); Jack Kirwan 1-1; Mark Jackson (0-3 frees), Conor Fee (0-1 free) Dean Healy 0-3 each;; Mark Kenny 0-1.
Limerick: Aaron O’Sullivan; Cormac Woulfe, Seán O’Dea, Brian Fanning; Barry Coleman, Iain Corbett, Tony McCarthy; Colm McSweeney, Cillian Fahy; Adrian Enright, Brian Donovan, Cian Sheehan; James Naughton, Hugh Bourke, Peter Nash.Subs: Cathal Downes for Enright (half-time), Jim Liston for Coleman (45), Killian Ryan for Naughton (53) Robbie Bourke for Nash (53), David Connolly for Woulfe (60)
Wicklow: Mark Jackson; Eoin Murtagh, Paul McLoughlin, Malachy Stone; Matt Nolan, Patrick O’Keane, Mark Kenny; Dean Healy, Pádraig O’Toole; Conor Fee, Tom Moran, Jack Kirwan; John Paul Nolan, Joe Prendergast, Eoin Darcy.
Subs: Tom Maher for McLoughlin (half-time), Karl Furlong for Moran (half-time), Fintan O’Shea for Keogh (61), Cian O’Sullivan for Darcy (68), Jaques McCall for Prendergast (70).
Referee: Brendan Griffin (Kerry)