Limerick finish with a flourish to overcome Antrim
Limerick 0-23 Antrim1-12
Limerick finished strongly to earn their first win of the league campaign at Ballycastle yesterday.
The visitors got off to the better start and led by 0-2 to no score after four minutes, with Paul Brown and Shane Dowling on target.
By the 10th minute it was all square at 0-3 apiece, with Paul Shiels landing two sublime points, and when Mattie Donnelly pointed, the home side went into the lead.
The heavy conditions didn't make for attractive hurling and referee John Keenan had to throw in the sliotar on a number of occasions after it became buried in the soft surface.
There was a moment of controversy when umpires waved Donal O'Grady's 25th-minute effort wide, but referee Keenan overruled his officials to signal Limerick's seventh score of the day.
Brown's second score on the stroke of half-time gave Limerick a 0-10 to 0-9 lead at the interval.
Within a minute of the restart, Antrim were back in the lead. Ciaran Clarke pulled the ball back to Eoghan Campbell and the Cushendall clubman finished superbly past Nicky Quaid.
The Saffrons held the advantage for just five minutes. Tom Condon, Brown and O'Grady pointed to level matters and Wayne McNamara completed an unanswered run of four points for the visitors.
Limerick were beginning to find more space and Condon added a brace to put three points between them.
Campbell and Shiels brought Antrim to within a point on the 54th minute, but that was as good as it got for the Ulstermen, who failed to raise another flag.
Dowling remained accurate from frees, while the impressive Cian Lynch tacked another fine score.
Sub John Fitzgibbon became the 10th Limerick scorer in injury-time.
"Twenty-three points any day you go out is a good score. We would have been happy with that. Apart from the goal we conceded straight after half-time, we would have to be very happy," said Limerick boss TJ Ryan.
"The show moves on, we have to go to Wexford in two weeks' time, which is another difficult trip."
Man of the Match: Cian Lynch (Limerick)
SCORERS - Limerick: S Dowling 0- 6 (6fs), T Condun, D Reidy, P Brown 0-3 each, D O'Grady, C Lynch 0-2 each, S Ryan, S Hickey, W McNamara, J Fitzgibbon 0-1 each. Antrim: P Shiels 0-7 (4fs), E Campbell 1-1, S McCrory, C Johnson, C Clarke, M Donnelly 0-1 each.
Limerick - N Quaid 7; S Walsh 7, R McCarthy 8, S Hickey 6; T Condon 9, W McNamara 7, D Morrissey 7; S Ryan 7, P Brown 8; D Reidy 7, D O'Grady 7, C Lynch 9; T Morrissey 7, S Dowling 8, A Breen 6. Subs: S Tobin 7 for A Breen (48), D Hannon 7 for T Morrissey (59), C Allis 6for T Condun (67), J Fitzgibbon for D O'Grady (69), S O'Brien for P Brown (70).
Antrim - C O'Connell 7; R McCambridge 6, N McAuley 7, A Graffin 7; S McCrory 8, C McKinley 8, M Bradley 7; N McManus 7, C Johnston 6; P Shiels 8, D McKernan 6, E Campbell 7; C Clarke 7, PJ O'Connell 7, M Donnelly 7. Subs: E McCloskey 6 for D McKernan (31), C Carson 6 for M Donnelly (48), O McFadden 7 for N McManus (52), S McAfee for PJ O'Connell (65), D Hamill for C Johnson (65).
REF - J Keenan (Wicklow).