DUBLIN'S minor hurlers registered their second successive loss in challenge games as they succumbed to a powerful Limerick outfit by 2-14 to 1-11 in St Clare's last Saturday lunchtime.
The hosts produced a desperately poor first-half display and Limerick were much quicker out of the blocks, racing into a five-point lead by the eighth minute.
Dublin began with two changes from the chosen line-up as Seán Ryan and Paul O'Dea failed late fitness tests on injuries picked up in training on Thursday, meaning that six of the starting XV were making their first start of the season.
Limerick – a very big and physical side – completely dominated the first half and were consistently quicker to the ball, and but for the efforts of Shane Barrett, who excelled throughout, Dublin would have been in even bigger trouble.
With the score at 2-9 to 0-2, half-time couldn't come quickly enough for the Dubs with manager Pat Fanning outlining a few home truths at the interval and requesting far greater effort from his charges.
Thankfully, Fanning's promptings had their desired effect as Dublin took the game to their opponents and began to take charge, dictating the pattern of the game while some of the substitutions and switches began to pay dividends.
Barrett, Chris Bennett (above), Cian O'Sullivan, Dónal Burke, Tom Fox and Jake Malone can all be fairly pleased with their displays but nonetheless, the appalling first-half display will be of serious concern to Dublin with just six weeks to championship as more than a few players failed to step up to the mark.
SCORERS -Dublin: C Bennett 0- 5 (4f); G King 1-1; F Whitley 0-2; P Spellacy, M Oliver, S Keating 0-1 apiece.
DUBLIN: Jonathan Treacy (Na Fianna); Daragh Butler (Kilmacud Crokes), Shane Barrett (Na Fianna), Mark McCallion (Kilmacud Crokes); Dara Kelly (Ratoath), Jake Malone (Cuala), Éamon Allen (Kilmacud Crokes); Kevin Callaghan (St Brigid's), Dónal Burke (Na Fianna); Eoin Dunne (Naomh Mearnóg), Matthew Oliver (Na Fianna), Fergal Whitely (Kilmacud Crokes); Eoin Ó Conghaile (Lucan Sarsfields), Chris Bennett (Faughs), Séan Keating (Kilmacud Crokes).
Subs: Tom Fox (Kilmacud Crokes) for Butler (10); Cian O'Sullivan (St Brigid's) for McCallion and Séan Grey (Whitehall Colmcille) for Callaghan (15); Ciarán Brady (Faughs) for Kelly, Shane Howard (Fingallians) for Keating and Gavin King (Na Fianna) for Ó Conghaile (half-time); Hugh McVeigh (Faughs) for Burke, Mark Maguire (St Jude's) for Allen and Paddy Spellacy (Whitehall Colmcille) for Whitey (40); Tadgh Murphy (Kilmacud Crokes) for Treacy (45).