Ó Dálaigh goal key as sluggish Limerick get over Westmeath in hurling league

Westmeath 0-16
Limerick 1-19

By Tom Clancy in TEG Cusack Park

Limerick made it back-to-back victories, defeating Westmeath by six points in TEG Cusack Park in Mullingar. John Kiely’s men struggled to get near the level of last weekend,

There was more opportunities for Emmet McEvoy and Darragh Langan, who both started, while Barry Nash, Seamus Flanagan and Graeme Mulcahy were included from the start for the first time in 2024.
Westmeath, backed by a strong wind in the first half, were clearly up for this. Limerick, however went close to a goal from throw-in as Graeme Mulcahy’s fine run saw him shoot off the cross bar. The hosts made the early running on the score board.

David Reidy opened Limerick’s account while Mulcahy and Flanagan were also on target in the opening ten minutes. David Williams led the Westmeath charge and his eight points had them in the contest, with Shane McGovern accounting for their only other score in the first 35 minutes. Donnacha Ó Dálaigh looked most threatening for Limerick and he put the Shannonsiders 0-7 to 0-5 ahead but once more Joe Fortunes’ men kept coming. A third point of the half from Ó Dálaigh meant it was level for a sixth time in a fragmented opening half. 0-9 apiece at half-time, the expectation was the defending champions would kick on.

It didn’t happen until late in the contest, when Ó Dálaigh’s goal helped Limerick move five clear for the first time, 1-16 to 0-14. It wasn’t without a scare, as Niall Mitchell fired over for a point when the goal seemed on.

Limerick misfired in front of goal, with double digits in wides but there was some better play with the wind at their backs in the second half.

Limerick, with scores from Mark Quinlan, Paddy O’Donvan and Conor Boylan pulled clear late on, with Westmeath’s gallant effort keeping them in the contest for long periods. They finished 14-men as David Williams received his marching orders in stoppage time.

Scorers for Westmeath: David Williams 0-10 (0-9 frees); Joesph Boyle, Niall Mitchell 0-2 each; Shane McGovern, David O’Reilly, Ciaran Doyle 0-1 each.

Scorers for Limerick:
Donnacha Ó Dálaigh 1-4; Michaél Houlihan 0-4 (2 frees); David Reidy, Tom Morrissey (1 free) 0-2 each; Graeme Mulcahy, Seamus Flanagan, Darragh O’Donovan, Cathal O’Neill, Gearoid Hegarty, Mark Quinlan, Paddy O’Donovan, Conor Boylan 0-1 each.
Westmeath: Noel Conaty, Darragh Egerton, Johnny Bermingham, Connor Gaffney; Jack Gillen, Kevin Regan, Cormac Boyle; Michael Daly, Shane McGovern; Niall Mitchell, David Williams, David O’Reilly; Owen McCabe, Eoin Keyes, Darragh Clinton.

Subs: Tommy Doyle for Boyle (inj – 3), Peter Clarke for Daly (25), Joseph Boyle for McCabe (47), Ciaran Doyle for Clinton (60), Mark Cunningham for Keyes (66).

Limerick: David McCarthy; Barry Nash, Emmet McEvoy, Aaron Costello; Diarmaid Brynes, David Reidy, Darragh Langan; Barry Murphy, Darragh O’Donovan; Micheál Houlihan, Cathal O’Neill, Tom Morrissey (C); Donnacha Ó Dálaigh, Seamus Flanagan, Graeme Mulcahy.

Subs: Conor Boylan for O’Neill (51), Gearoid Hegarty for Houlihan (51), Mark Quinlan for Langan (56), Paddy O’Donovan for Mulcahy (60), Ronan Connolly for D O’Donovan (64)

Referee: Colum Canning (Antrim)

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