Waterford 1-22 Limerick 0-21
Limerick fell to back-to-back defeats as Waterford did enough to secure a four point victory at Walsh Park. Having drawn with Tipperary and been defeated by Galway, Limerick have relinquished their chance of a third consecutive National League title.
Limerick finished with 13 men. The first half red card for Seamus Flanagan, for an off the ball incident with Conor Gleeson, made it an unhill task against the wind in Waterford. Kyle Hayes was also shown a straight red card following a touchline clash with a number of Waterford players in second-half stoppage time.
The Treaty were seeking a seventh consecutive victory over Waterford – but this means a first Déise win over Limerick since they defeated TJ Ryan’s charges in the 2016 League semi-final.
John Kiely was able to hand a senior debut to fellow Garryspillane clubman Mark Quinlan, who replaced the suspended Diarmaid Byrnes. There was also a first start of the season for Aaron Gillane while captain Declan Hannon made his seasonal bow. Robbie Hanley was a late replacement for David Reidy. Josh Considine also appeared from the bench late on.
Limerick looked sharp early on and led 0-6 to 0-2 at the water-break with Aaron Gillane, Flanagan and Tom Morrissey all on target. Nickie Quaid denied Calum Lyons with a decent save on 16 minutes.
Flanagan was dismissed by referee Paud O’Dwyer, who consulted with his umpires, for a swipe on Conor Gleeson. Despite this, the sides split six points evenly to close the half, with Gillane (two frees) and Kyle Hayes cancelling out efforts from Shane Bennett (free), Lyons and Stephen Bennett (free). Limerick led by five points at the change of ends, despite hitting eight wides.
But Waterford started the second half with a purpose. They landed the first three points but Limerick responded well with Gillane and Darragh O’Donovan on target. Limerick remained in the lead at the waterbreak but it had been whittled down to just two points, 0-16 to 0-14.
Waterford flipped the game on its head when Jack Fagan buried to the net from close range while Calum Lyons added a neat score shortly afterwards.
Limerick trailed down the stretch and couldn’t level the game. Despite this, they had a glorious chance to do so. Entering stoppage time, Billy Nolan denied Pat Ryan a green flag with an impressive save. Waterford hit the final two scores to win by four points.
Limerick regroup ahead of their final two outings, though will be without both Hayes and Flanagan for the clash with Cork.
Waterford: Shane Bennett 0-8 (0-4 frees, 0-3 ‘65’), Patrick Curran, Calum Lyons 0-3 each; Jack Fagan 1-0; Jack Prendergast, Kieran Bennett 0-2 each; Shane Bennett (free), Iarlaith Daly, Austin Gleeson, Jamie Barron 0-1 each.
Limerick: Aaron Gillane 0-11 (0-8 frees, 0-2 ‘65’); Tom Morrissey 0-3 (0-1 free, 0-1 ‘65’), Seamus Flanagan 0-2; Cian Lynch, Peter Casey, Kyle Hayes, Declan Hannon, Darragh O’Donovan 0-1 each.
Waterford: Billy Nolan; Calum Lyons, Conor Prunty, Seamus Keating; Shane Bennett, Iarlaith Daly, Kieran Bennett; Jamie Barron, Austin Gleeson; Jack Fagan, Conor Gleeson, Jake Dillon; Dessie Hutchinson, Stephen Bennett, Jack Prendergast.
Subs Used: Kevin Moran for Keating (29), Michael Kiely for Shane Bennett (52), Dj Foran for K. Bennett (52), Patrick Curran for Hutchinson (54), Billy Power for Fagan (64), Peter Hogan for Dillon (70).
Limerick: Nickie Quaid, Seán Finn, Dan Morrissey, Richie English; Mark Quinlan, Declan Hannon ©, Kyle Hayes; Robbie Hanley, Darragh O’Donovan; Tom Morrissey, Cian Lynch, Conor Boylan; Aaron Gillane, Seamus Flanagan, Peter Casey.
Subs Used: William O’Donoghue for Hanley (43), Josh Considine for O’Donovan (54),Barry Nash for Quinlan (56), Cathal O’Neill for Casey (66), Pat Ryan for Gillane (66), Aaron Costello for D Morrisey (71).
Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow)