Tuesday 20 March 2018

Ryan supplies spark for Dubs to burn off wasteful Limerick


Dublin’s Mark Schutte attempts to gather possession under pressure from Limerick’s Seanie O’Brien during yesterday’s All-Ireland SHC Qualifier in Semple Stadium.
Dublin’s Mark Schutte attempts to gather possession under pressure from Limerick’s Seanie O’Brien during yesterday’s All-Ireland SHC Qualifier in Semple Stadium.

John Fallon

Dublin came from eight points adrift to fire up their championship summer as Limerick lost their way in an All-Ireland qualifier clash at Semple Stadium where they looked to be coasting to victory at one stage.

A goal from David Breen saw Limerick open up a 1-7 to 0-2 lead after 26 minutes and they should have been out of sight by the interval, but wayward shooting proved very costly in the end.

In contrast, Dublin grew in confidence as the game progressed and Paul Ryan gave an exhibition of shooting, landing a dozen points, six of them from play and some from acute angles.

Limerick didn't have a forward capable of delivering that sort of haul and in the end managed just six points from play over the 70 minutes.

Dublin manager Ger Cunningham changed his defence around with Chris Crummey starting at full-back but it was Limerick, aided by the breeze, who sparkled early - Paudie O'Brien giving them a perfect start with a point from distance after less than a minute.

Shane Dowling followed up with a free but Limerick were wasteful from the outset and by half-time they had shot 11 wides to Dublin's five.

That meant that TJ Ryan's men only held a four-point advantage at the break having done most of the hurling during a competitive opening half where there were just six frees.

Four of them were to Dublin, all within striking range and Paul Ryan landed three, although he did miss one before the break as Cunningham's men finished the half strongly.

Ryan O'Dwyer got Dublin off the mark after six minutes but they were doing well to keep Limerick at bay and efforts from Dowling, Kevin Downes and Graeme Mulcahy pushed the Munster men 0-5 to 0-2 ahead after Ryan had landed his first free.

Limerick continued to shoot from difficult positions and the wide count rose but a '65 from Dowling and a superb sideline from Declan Hannon put them five points in front.

Dublin looked to be in serious trouble when Breen, who had earlier over-carried and squandered a good goal chance, raced away from Liam Rushe down the left and cut in before finishing to the net to open up a 1-7 to 0-2 lead.

Dublin responded well to the challenge though and did not panic. Daire Plunkett, one of two late changes, pulled back a point and while Hannon responded with a good effort from play eight minutes from the break, Dublin took over to the interval.

Ryan pointed another free and then landed one from play as Dublin finally got moving up front. Ryan got another free and Dublin finished the half on the front foot when Mark Schutte, seeing little ball to then, shot a good point to cut the Limerick lead to four points at the interval.

Ryan took over after the restart and gave an exhibition of shooting, landing two frees and two from play to level the match after 41 minutes and then added another free to put them in front for the first time a minute later.

Limerick responded with four points without reply, three of them from Seánie Tobin, to lead by a goal with 17 minutes remaining.

Plunkett and Ryan hit back with points for Dublin before Graeme Mulcahy responded for Limerick to put two between them. Then came the crucial score of the game when a long ball from Shane Durkin broke for O'Callaghan and he made no mistake to find the net.

Tobin levelled for Limerick five minutes from time but Limerick never led again.

Cian Boland restored Dublin's lead, Ryan then added another before Tobin and Ryan exchanged points in a frantic finish.

Dublin full-back Crummey was sent off when he picked up a second yellow card but while Tobin cut the gap to a point, Limerick could not conjure an equaliser and Dublin held out to keep their summer alive. But Limerick only have themselves to blame after letting such a strong position slip from their grasp in a game which really only sparked to life in the final quarter.

Scorers - Dublin: P Ryan 0-12 (6f), D O'Callaghan 1-0, D Plunkett 0-2, M Schutte, R O'Dwyer, C Boland 0-1 each.

Limerick: S Tobin 0-6 (4f), S Dowling 0-4 (2f, 2 '65), D Breen 1-0, G Mulcahy, D Hannon (0-1 sl) 0-2 each, P O'Brien, K Downes 0-1 each.

Dublin: G Maguire; P Schutte, C Crummey, S Barrett; S Durkin, L Rushe, N Corcoran; D Plunkett, J McCaffrey; E Dillon, R O'Dwyer, D Sutcliffe; M Schutte, C Keaney, P Ryan. Subs: D O'Callaghan for Dillon (29), J Boland for Corcoran (50), C Boland for Keaney (58), D Treacy for M Schutte (65).

Limerick: N Quaid; S Hickey, R McCarthy, S O'Brien; P O'Brien, G O'Mahony, W McNamara; J Ryan, P Browne; G Mulcahy, D Breen, C Lynch; S Dowling, K Downes, D Hannon. Subs: S Tobin for Dowling (43), D Morrissey for McNamara (43), D O'Grady for Breen (55), D O'Grady for Hannon (65), C King for Browne (69).

Referee: C McAllister (Cork)

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