Sunday 25 September 2016

Ryan hits a perfect 10 as Limerick minors march on

Limerick 0-17 Wexford 0-9

Jackie Cahill

Published 25/07/2016 | 02:30

Wexford’s Mark O’Neill tries to dispossess Ciarán O’Connor of Limerick during yesterday’s Electric Ireland All-Ireland MHC quarter-final at Semple Stadium. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Wexford’s Mark O’Neill tries to dispossess Ciarán O’Connor of Limerick during yesterday’s Electric Ireland All-Ireland MHC quarter-final at Semple Stadium. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

The result was all that mattered to Pat Donnelly and his Limerick minor hurlers as they saw off Wexford by eight points to book an All-Ireland semi-final spot.

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Having suffered a crushing 17-point defeat against Tipperary in the Munster final, Limerick desperately needed a response and they got it as Brian Ryan bagged 10 points against the Slaneysiders at Semple Stadium.

James Henebery and Darren Byrne of Wexford in action against Cian Magnier Flynn of Limerick.. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
James Henebery and Darren Byrne of Wexford in action against Cian Magnier Flynn of Limerick.. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Beaten Leinster finalists Wexford were competitive for spells but Limerick were superb in the closing minutes as a flurry of scores closed the game out, and set up a Croke Park clash with Dublin on August 7.

Just four separated the sides entering the final 10 minutes but Limerick stepped on the gas to win comfortably - as Ryan hit the high notes.

A tally of 15 wides didn't help Wexford's cause but Limerick were the superior force in Thurles.

Wexford could have cut the gap back to just two points in the second half but Damien Reck fired a close-in free wide, before Wexford had a goal ruled out for square ball in the 51st minute.

Harry Kehoe, Wexford, dejected after the game. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Harry Kehoe, Wexford, dejected after the game. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

But Limerick claimed six of the last seven points of the game - including five from Ryan.

Donnelly said: "We never burned them off until the last few minutes but we're delighted with the win.

"It didn't matter how we did it.

"They could have put us under pressure, they missed chances when it was tight.

"Luckily enough we got over the line not playing very well. We've been in four Munster finals in a row and now we're heading for Croke Park. That's the target for the academy every year.

"It was very important for us as a group that we responded to that [Munster final] and that we'd work and work and work. That's what we did."

Limerick, playing against the breeze, led by 0-8 to 0-5 at the end of a disappointing first half.

The sides were level twice in the early exchanges before Limerick put some daylight between the sides - moving into a 0-7 to 0-3 lead approaching the interval.

Wexford hit two of the half's final three points but some big moments went against them in the second period as Barry O'Connor was correctly adjudged to have been in the square before poking home a goal that was ruled out.

Scorers - Limerick: B Ryan 0-10 (6f), C Boylan 0-3, J Adams (f), M O'Grady, K Hayes & D Woulfe 0-1 each. Wexford: D Reck 0-3 (2f, 1 65), L Stafford & T Doyle 0-2 each, C Flood (f) & A Walsh 0-1 each.

LIMERICK - M O'Kelly; B Nash, C Nicholas, R Connelly; J Adams, C O'Connor, F Hourigan; J Boylan, D Carroll; M O'Grady, K Hayes, D Woulfe; C Boylan, A Barrett, B Ryan. Subs: C McCarthy for Carroll (30+1), P O'Riordan for Barrett (45), J Flynn for McCarthy (50), C Magnier Flynn for Woulfe (53), C O'Grady for M for O'Grady (57).

WEXFORD - J Henebery; C Scallan, D Byrne, E Molloy; J Cullen, C Firman, C Flood; G Molloy, A Walsh; L Stafford, D Reck, B O'Connor; C Hearne, M O'Neill, T Doyle. Subs: Q Saunders for Cullen (41), M Doyle for T Doyle (43), S Wall for Hearne (51), E Kelly for O'Neill (56).

REF - D Hughes (Carlow).

Irish Independent

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