O'Shea leads way as Galway prove too much for Limerick
Galway 1-20 Limerick 0-12
All-Ireland minor champions Galway won't be letting go of their crown too easily if their comfortable 11-point win over Munster runners-up Limerick is anything to go by.
Galway rarely looked threatened in their championship opener at Semple Stadium, and rattled off points almost at will when they needed to put clear water between the sides.
Limerick came into this round-robin match on something of a retrieval mission, having lost heavily in the Munster final to Tipperary seven days beforehand, while Galway were 'unknown quantity' fare, comparatively speaking.
However, their potency was underlined from an early stage.
They say just before the break is a good time to score a goal and so it proved for Galway, with Donal O'Shea hammering home a shot to the top-right corner after Oisín 'mór' Flannery (pictured) laid it off perfectly.
Keelan Creaven was a problem for the Limerick defence throughout, firing over points from play, as well as being involved in several other scores, while Oisín 'beag' Flannery got one of the scores of the half when O'Shea was provider, making a brilliant catch and passing to his forward colleague.
Limerick did have goal chances in that first half, but Paddy Rabbitte kept out a Cathal O'Neill effort and blocked a ground shot by Colin Coughlan.
Behind by eight at the break, Limerick just about kept in touch in the third quarter with a succession of frees by Cathal O'Neill, but Galway were able to up the ante when necessary and in the closing minutes got six excellent scores in a row through Diarmuid Kilcommons (twice), Oisín 'beag' Flannery, O'Shea, and sub Colm Cunningham on the double.
Galway play Kilkenny next in this three-team round-robin group, with Limerick taking on the young Cats the following week and the top two progressing.
Scorers - Galway: D O'Shea 1-5 (0-3fs, 0-1 '65'), K Creaven, D Kilcommins 0-3 each, O B Flannery, C Cunningham 0-2 each, O M Flannery, D Reilly, A Brett, S Neary, J Donoghue 0-1 each. Limerick: C O'Neill 0-8 (6fs), M Martin, C Ryan, B Purcell, E McEvoy 0-1 each.
Galway - P Rabbitte; M Flynn, S Jennings, I McGlynn; S Quirke, S Neary, E Duggan; O "Beag" Flannery, J Donoghue; D Kilcommins, A Brett, O "Mór" Flannery; K Craven, D O'Shea, D Reilly. Subs: S McDonagh for Brett (48), N Collins for O M Flannery (48), C Cunningham for O M Flannery (59), C Flaherty for Duggan (59).
Limerick - B Heavey; P Harnett, B Herlihy, M Keane; E O'Mahony, E McEvoy, J Nicholas; P Kirby, B O'Connor; M Martin, C Ryan, C Coughlan; C O'Neill, B Purcell, B Nix. Subs: S Hurley for O'Connor (HT), A Shanahan for Kirby (48), D Riordan for Coughlan (51), D Hegarty for Nix (54).
Ref - S Stack (Dublin).
Who is your sportstar of the year?
Vote in the Irish Independent Sport Star Awards and you could win the ultimate sports prize.
Prizes include, a trip to Old Trafford to watch Man United take on Liverpool in the Premier League, tickets to Ireland's home games in the Six Nations, All Ireland football and hurling final tickets and much more.