Sunday 19 August 2018

Limerick make huge statement as they ruthlessly dismiss Waterford to edge closer to Munster final

Limerick 2-26 Waterford 1-16

Seamus Flanagan of Limerick in action against Austin Gleeson of Waterford
Seamus Flanagan of Limerick in action against Austin Gleeson of Waterford
Vincent Hogan

Vincent Hogan

Limerick set down a huge statement of their Championship intent at the Gaelic Grounds today with a ruthless eviction of Waterford from the Munster Championship.

They had a massive thirteen points to spare over the beaten All-Ireland finalists after a performance that pushes them to within touching distance of the Munster final. Two first-half goals completely demoralised a Waterford team that looked like they simply hadn't recovered from the previous week's collapse against Tipperary.

The imagination of Limerick's movement had them in trouble from first whistle. While Shane Dowling was selected as a notional full-forward, he spent much of the early exchanges out around the middle third, affording Graeme Mulcahy and Seamus Flanagan extra room inside.

Waterford just couldn't cope with the Limerick runners from deep and were already 0-2 to 0-5 behind when leaking the first goal, in the tenth minute, to Gearoid Hegarty after a brilliant move involving Mulcahy, Kyle Hayes and Flanagan.

Three minutes later, Limerick had another, this one courtesy of an uncharacteristic fumble from Waterford goalkeeper, Stephen O'Keeffe, under Flanagan's long delivery, allowing Mulchahy stab the ball home.

This was nightmare stuff for Derek McGrath's men who, having last week lost an eleven points lead to Tipperary on this same field, now fould themselves nine points down and in deep, deep trouble.

Waterford just could not figure a way past the dominant Limerick half-back line of Diarmuid Byrnes, Declan Hannon and Dan Morrissey and their frustrations were caught in microcosm approaching half-time when Tom Devine became their third player to be booked for a late challenge under the Mackey Stand on Mike Casey.

Movement apart, Limerick's hurling was far crisper than their opponents too and, despite little pockets of resistance from the men in white, it was largely one-way traffic right through to half-time, the home team going to their dressing-room with a commanding 2-14 to 0-7 advantage.

There was no let-up after the break, Limerick simply easing through the gears, John Kiely able to empty his bench as they stretched away for a win that, effectively, ends Waterford's championship despite having one game left to play.

SCORERS: Limerick - S Dowling 0-15 (0-13 frees), G Hegarty 1-1, C Lynch 0-3, G Mulcahy 1-0, K Hayes and T Morrissey 0-2 each, D O'Donovan (line cut), D Dempsey and S Flanagan 0-1 each.

Waterford - Pauric Mahony 0-10 (0-9 frees), T Ryan 1-0, S Bennett, T Devine, DJ Foran, M Kearney, S O'Keeffe and M Shanahan 0-1 each.

LIMERICK: N Quaid, S Finn, M Casey, R English, D Byrnes, D Hannon, D Morrissey, D O'Donovan, C Lynch, G Hegarty, K Hayes, T Morrissey, SL Flanagan, S Dowling, G Mulcahy. Subs - D Dempsey for Hegarty (55 mins), B Murphy for Mulcahy (60 mins), W O'Donoghue for O'Donovan (63 mins), B Nash for Flanagan (68 mins), P Browne for Lynch (68 mins).

WATERFORD: S O'Keeffe, S Fives, C Gleeson, N Connors, M Walsh, A Gleeson, Philip Mahony, J Barron, Pauric Mahony, K Moran, S Roche, DJ Foran, S Bennett, T Devine, P Curran. S McNulty for Fives (4 mins), T Ryan for Curran (half-time), M Shanahan for Bennett (half-time), J Dillon for Roche (52 mins), M Kearney for Barron (65 mins).

Referee - S Cleere (Kilkenny).

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