Limerick’s struggles in Division 1B continued on Sunday as they were beaten by Galway in the Gaelic Grounds by 0-24 to 1-18. Prior to the league’s opening round of games, this was seen as the game to decide who would be promoted to division 1A next Spring. However, after both suffered defeats to Wexford in the first two rounds this game has been seen as a dead rubber.
Although losing the game and finishing a disappointing 3rd in the group, Limerick will face Cork in the League Quarter next weekend in Cork.
Things looked bright for John Kiely and his men in the opening exchanges in the Gaelic Grounds however. By the time 10 minutes had elapsed, Limerick found themselves in a comfortable 0-5 to 0-1 lead courtesy of points from Cian Lynch, Graham Mulcahy, David Dempsey, Seamus Hickey and Shane Dowling.
The teams then exchanged 2 points apiece to leave the score at 0-7 to 0-3 with 15 minutes played. Over the next 10 minutes Galway began to gain a grip and scored five of the following scores to level the game. Limerick would go 24 minutes without a score from play, relying heavily on frees from Dowling.
Shane Dowling would score 2 pointed frees to give Limerick the lead once more. Then Galway would really find their feet to score 6 unanswered points to take control of the game heading into the half. Yet, there was still time for the game to swing once more with a Lynch goal followed by points from Shane Dowling and Kyle Hayes giving Limerick a one-point lead at the half, 1-13 to 0-14.
Galway settled quickly into the second half and by the time Shane Dowling had Limerick’s first score of the second period in the 13th minute, Galway had raced into the lead courtesy of 4 David Burke points.
A couple of Dowling frees had Limerick level with 20 minutes to play and Gearoid Hegarty then pushed Limerick into the lead with a quarter of an hour to go. However, Limerick would score only once more and points from Niall Burke and 2 from substitute Shane Moloney secured the win for the Tribesmen.
Limerick must regather for the QF against Cork next weekend, who have enjoyed a renaissance of sorts this spring and will no doubt provide Limerick with a real test.
SCORERS: Limerick: Shane Dowling 0-11 (8frees), Cian Lynch 1-1, Graeme Mulcahy 0-2, David Dempsey, Seamus Hickey, Kyle Hayes and Gearoid Hegarty 0-1 each.
Galway: Joe Canning 0-10 (6frees, 1 lineball), David Burke 0-6, Cathal Mannion and Shane Maloney 0-2 each, Paul Flaherty, Johnny Coen, Aidan Harte and Niall Burke 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: Nickie Quaid; Richie English, Richie McCarthy, Mike Casey; Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon, Seamus Hickey; James Ryan, William O’Donoghue; Shane Dowling, Gearoid Hegarty, David Dempsey; Cian Lynch, Kyle Hayes, Graeme Mulcahy. Subs: Barry Nash for Graeme Mulcahy (53mins), Tom Morrissey for William O’Donoghue (58mins), Pat Ryan for James Ryan (68mins), Colin Ryan for Gearoid Hegarty (69mins), Ronan Lynch for David Dempsey (71mins).
GALWAY: Colm Callanan; Sean Loftus, John Hanbury, Aidan Harte; Padraic Mannion, Gearoid McInerney, Aidan Touhy; Johnny Coen, David Burke; Padraig Brehony, Joseph Cooney, Paul Flaherty; Joe Canning, Cathal Mannion, Jason Flynn. Subs: Paul Killeen for Sean Loftus (HT), Thomas Monaghan for Jason Flynn (HT), Shane Maloney for Paul Flaherty (57mins), Niall Burke for David Burke (68mins).
REFEREE: James McGrath (Westmeath).