Hannon haul keeps Treaty flying high
Limerick 1-19 Offaly 0-14
Limerick maintained their 100pc record in the League as Declan Hannon fired 1-6 to help them overcome a resilient Offaly.
An eight-point winning margin was somewhat flattering to Limerick but they always looked the likely winners.
Hannon's goal five minutes before the break proved the key score as with the sides level on 0-7 each, it gave the Treaty men a head of steam and was a real body blow for Offaly, who had been giving as good as they got.
Limerick pulled away in the second half but not convincingly as both sides went into double digits in the wide count: 16 for Limerick and 14 for the home side.
Both sides also missed half-goal chances but as the first half wore on, Limerick gradually started to turn the screw. Hannon got into his groove with three points from play in the opening 14 minutes but it was 0-4 to 0-3 in favour of Offaly before Limerick began to find their range, with three points on the spin, the pick of them from Seamus Hickey, sending them 0-7 to 0-4 in front.
If Limerick could hit three on the spin, Offaly could match it. A brace of frees from Shane Dooley helped them back to level at 0-7 each but the last five minutes of the half saw Limerick land a killer blow.
Sean Gardiner's poor clearance fell to Hannon and the Adare man made no mistake in sending a rasper beyond James Dempsey. Limerick should have had another goal a minute later but for a superb save from Dempsey to deny Cian Lynch from point-blank range.
Both sides added points before the break with ace marksman Hannon landing his fourth point of the half to leave it 1-11 to 0-8 at the break.
Limerick only needed 10 seconds to extend their lead at the start of the second half with Paul Browne popping up for a score before Dooley and Hannon traded scores.
Tempers flared on numerous occasions throughout the second half but as Offaly wasted chances, Limerick began to pull away on the scoreboard, with Tom Morrissey grabbing his third on 48 minutes to put the Treaty County 1-14 to 0-10 ahead.
Offaly felt hard done by when James Mulrooney found the net on 57 minutes only for play to be called back for a free. Dooley landed the free but the ball did look to have left the stick of Mulrooney before referee John Keenan sounded the whistle to bring play back.
Offaly gathered a head of steam after that with Dooley landing a super effort from play, a sideline cut and a free to leave it 1-15 to 0-14 with five minutes to go but Limerick tagged on the last four points to leave a flattering eight-point margin in the end.
Scorers - Limerick: D Hannon 1-6 (0-2fs), D Byrne (3fs), T Morrissey, P Browne 0-3 each, G O'Mahony 0-2, S Hickey, D O'Donovan 0-1 each. Offaly: S Dooley 0-8 (5fs, 1 s-l), J Bergin 0-2, C McDonald, C Egan, S Gardiner, J Sampson 0-1 each.
OFFALY - J Dempsey 9; N Wynne 7, C McDonald 8, P Rigney 6; D Shortt 7, C Doughan 8, P Camon 8; S Kinsella 6, S Gardiner 7; P Murphy 6, C Egan 6, S Ryan 6; S Dooley 7, J Bergin 7, J Sampson 6. Subs: J Mulrooney 6 for P Murphy (46), P Guinan 6 for J Sampson (49),S Cleary 6 for S Kinsella (57), L Langton 6 for S Gardiner (61), J Gorman (for S Ryan (67), S Gardiner for C McDonald (70).
LIMERICK - N Quaid 7; T Condon 7, R McCarthy 7, R English 7; D Morrissey 8, D Byrne 8, B O'Connell 7; P Browne 8, S Hickey 6; G O'Mahony 7, T Morrissey 8, C Lynch 7; D Reidy 6 D Hannon 9, B Nash 6. Subs: S Tobin 6 for D Reidy (49), D O'Donovan 7 for D Hannon (55), W McNamara 6 for D Morrissey (61), M Ryan for T Morrissey (67), P Ryan (for B Nash 70).
Ref - J Keenan (Wicklow)