Antrim derailed by firepower of Downes
Limerick kept their 100pc league record intact at Loughgiel yesterday where they had too much firepower for Antrim.
Donal O'Grady's side were 0-4 to 0-0 ahead after seven minutes as the impressive Declan Hannon got the Treaty men off the mark after 50 seconds and added his second from a free a minute later.
Neil McManus opened Antrim's account from a free with Karl Stewart cutting the gap to two by the 12th minute. And by the quarter-hour mark, Antrim trailed by seven -- 1-6 to 0-2 -- with Downes sending an unstoppable shot past Sean Hawes.
Limerick notched up more scores as McManus completed the first-half scoring to lead 1-10 to 0-6 at the break.
Sean Tobin fired home Limerick's second major just after the restart. The home side cut the gap back to seven, 2-11 to 0-10, but Richie MacCarthy, James Ryan and Downes brought the deficit to double figures.
Antrim kept the scoreboard ticking over with five unanswered points as the game limped to its conclusion, but Downes' injury-time goal gave a more accurate reflection of the gap between the sides.
Man of the Match -- D Hannon (Limerick)
SCORERS -- Limerick: K Downes 3-0, D Hannon 0-6 (1f), S Tobin 1-1, P Browne (2f), R MacCarthy (1f), J Ryan 0-2 each, E Reale, W McNamara 0-1 each. Antrim: N McManus 0-9 (9f), B McFall 0-3, S McCrory, C McGuinness, K Stewart 0-1 each.
Limerick -- N Quaid 7; T Condon 7, S Lucey 8, D Reale 7; D Breen 8, S Hickey 8, W McNamara 8; D O'Grady 7, P Browne 7; D Hannon 9, R McCarthy 8, J Ryan 8; S Tobin 8, K Downes 9, G Mulcahy 8. Subs: M O'Riordan 7 for D O'Grady, N Moran 7 for J Ryan, E Reale 8 for P Browne, P McNamara 7 for R MacCarthy, B Geary 7 for S Hickey.
Antrim -- S Hawes 6; N McAuley 6; K McGourty 5, K Molloy 6; A Graffin 6, M Herron 6, C Herron 7; K Stewart 7, S McNaughton 6; P Shiels 6, S McCrory 7, K McKeegan 6, M Armstrong 6, N McManus 7, B McFall 8. Subs: J Black 7 for S McCrory, M Donnelly 6 for K Stewart, S Shannon 6 for C Herron, C McGuinness 7 for K McKeegan.
REF -- E Hasson (Derry).