Thursday 22 March 2018

Relentless Limerick hammer Laois but all eyes now turn to rivals Clare

Limerick 6-29 Laois1-12

TJ Ryan: Full focus on Clare Photo: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
TJ Ryan: Full focus on Clare Photo: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE newsdesk

Limerick manager TJ Ryan is determined to help his side beat rivals Clare to the punch next week as they ride it out for promotion to Division 1A.

The Treaty men were relentless in their destruction of a lacklustre Laois, who have still to win a game in this league campaign, and look certain to play in a relegation play-off.

But for Ryan's troops everything rides on next Sunday's visit to Ennis. He certainly has plenty of options up front with Barry Nash and John Fitzgibbon putting their hands up for inclusion with stellar performances. But the season to date has been moulded around this upcoming game, Ryan says.

"From the outset, the general public would have said that they would have expected Limerick and Clare to win their games and get down to the last game.

"We would have had one or two slip-ups in the past and we wanted to make sure of it. We made no secret of it we want to go and win the game next week.

"We have won the four games, we all know what the situation is next week. It's a big game. But it was a good professional performance out there.

"But it's all about next week for us, we would have been expected to win these four games and we have done just that. It's on to Clare now, and it's full concentration and full focus on that during the week," said Ryan.

Nash's two goals and his assist for Fitzgibbon's goal completely killed off the Laois challenge as Limerick led by 3-15 to 0-6 at the interval. Again Paul Browne was instrumental at midfield - he weighed in with four points from play - with Tom Morrissey also picking off points at will, while Michael Ryan, Graeme Mulcahy and Pat Ryan also hit the net.

But Fitzgibbon looks to be a top-class addition to the Limerick forward line. His accuracy from frees continually fended off any chance of Laois closing the gap, while his 1-5 from play seemed to come easy to him.

Last week Laois managed to find a spirited second-half against Clare in defeat, but there was no kick on Saturday. Seamus Plunkett admitted his side were second best by a distance.

"I really feel for my players. We just didn't hit the ground running. We were a good bit off the pace of the game.

"We have got a bad beating here, we will face this down," said Plunkett.

"Our next game is against Wexford and we will work on that during the week. The players have given [a huge] amount both to me and to the Laois public, they have trained expertly.

"I am happy with the group, we just failed to perform. We performed dismally and got a big beating here, and we have got to take that on the chin and move on."

Scorers - Limerick: J Fitzgibbon 1-14 (9f), B Nash 2-2, G Mulcahy 1-1, P Browne 0-4, T Morrissey 0-4; M Ryan, P Ryan 1-0; K O'Brien 0-2; G O'Mahony, D Byrne 0-1 (1f). Laois: PJ Scully 1-5 (4f), C Dwyer 0-3, C Collier, R Mullaney 0-1.
Limerick - B Hennessy 7; T Condon 7, R McCarthy 8, S O'Brien 7; P O'Brien 7, D Byrnes 7, S Hickey 7; P Ryan 8, P Browne 9, G O'Mahony 7, T Morrissey 8, J Fitzgibbon 9; G Mulcahy 8, K O'Brien 7, B Nash 9. Subs: G Hegarty 7 for S O'Brien (h-t), M Ryan 7 for Nash (h-t), W McNamara 7 for Byrnes (45), J Ryan 6 for O'Mahony (51), B O'Connell 7 for Browne (59).
Laois - E Reilly 7; J Phelan 6, D Maher 6, C Healy 5; L Bergin 5, N Foyle 5, R Mullaney 7; P Purcell 6, C Collier 7; C Dwyer 8, S Maher 7, M Whelan 6; W Dunphy 5, W Hyland 5, PJ Scully 8. Subs: J Walsh 6 for Foyle (h-t), T Delaney 6 for Bergin (h-t), R King 7 for Purcell (h-t), O Carroll 6 for Phelan (48), C Stapleton 5 for Dunphy (63).
Ref - James McGrath (Westmeath).

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