Limerick lay waste to dismal Dubs
Limerick 1-26 Dublin 0-17
The way Division 1B has taken shape, a winner-takes-promotion clash between Limerick and Galway on March 4 is now probable. Mired endlessly in the distinctly less glamorous second rung of league hurling, no team possesses as urgent a spring aspiration for 2018 as John Kiely's men.
They moved one step closer to that crack at freedom with an authoritative 12-point victory over an undercooked Dublin last night. With Antrim to come next week, it looks increasingly likely that the Galway clash will serve as a de facto Division 1B final.
The possibility that Dublin might challenge that duopoly this spring all but evaporated in their opening night loss to Offaly but despite having just a single-point victory over Antrim to show for the exertions so far under Pat Gilroy, the structure of this competition means that a spot in the quarter-finals of the league still remains a more likely outcome for them than a relegation play-off.
They are, however, some way off being competition with any Division 1A team just now.
Limerick won this easily. Aaron Gillane, the star of last year's All-Ireland under 21 winning team, who was only cleared to play before throw-in after a recent hamstring injury, scored 1-9 (0-7f) of their total, including the first-half penalty that essentially confirmed the destination of the points.
Tom Morrissey, Limerick's centre-forward, was another to excel, scoring four points from play but Dublin's methods played into their hands. Dublin didn't so much hunt in packs so much as scurry about in solo foraging missions. Every time Limerick hit a wall, they simply went backwards and took points from long range.
Dublin's bright sparks were few. Fergal Whitely worked doggedly. Eoghan O'Donnell and Chris Crummey were secure at the back. And Danny Sutcliffe showed glimpses of his old form.
Scorers - Limerick: A Gillane 1-9 (7f), T Morrissey, D Reidy (1f) 0-4 each, D Byrnes (1f) 0-3, G Hegarty, S Flanagan 0-2 each, P Ryan, B O'Connell 0-1 each. Dublin: D Burke 0-6 (6f), D Sutcliffe 0-5, C Keaney 0-2, F Whitely, C Boland, E O'Donnell, F McGibb 0-1 each.
Limerick: N Quaid; S Finn, S Hickey, R English; D Byrnes, D Hannon, D Morrissey; P Browne, C Lynch; G Hegarty, T Morrissey, D Reidy; A Gillane, S Flanagan, B Murphy. Subs: P Ryan for Gillane (48), O O'Reilly for Murphy (54), B O'Donnell for Hegarty (57), R McCarthy for Hickey (66).
Dublin: A Nolan; P Smyth, E O'Donnell, B O'Carroll; T Connolly, C Crummey, S Barrett; C McBride, N McMorrow; F McGibb, C Keaney, D Sutcliffe; F Whitely, C Boland, D Burke. Subs: C Costello for McBride (24), D Kelly for O'Carroll (h-t), R Hayes for McMorrow (h-t), L Rushe for Boland (h-t), J Madden for Connolly (70).
Referee: J Ryan (Tipperary)
Sunday Indo Sport