Friday 24 November 2017

Limerick goal rush blows Antrim away

Limerick 8-26 Antrim 1-15

DECLAN ROONEY

Limerick followed up their rout of Laois with another facile qualifier victory yesterday at the Gaelic Grounds, which will do little for the tougher tests ahead.



John Allen, though, will be delighted with the ruthlessness displayed in front of goal by his side and, after pushing Tipperary to the brink in the Munster championship, nobody will fancy meeting the Treatymen in the next round.

Once more their forwards were untouchable. Shane Dowling hit a terrific 3-9, Niall Moran added to last week's hat-trick with another two goals, while Graeme Mulcahy's 2-4 haul was complemented by a hatful of assists.

Included from the start instead of the injured Paul Browne, Thomas O'Brien charged through the centre of the Antrim rearguard before laying off to Sean Tobin, who rattled the net from a tight angle after barely a minute's play.

Neal McAuley got Antrim off the mark with a terrific score two minutes later, but their challenge looked dead and buried by the seventh minute, when another charging run up the middle from David Breen was halted expertly by Neil McGarry, only for Dowling to fire a ground stroke to the net.

In the ninth minute they sealed the issue when Moran hit Limerick's third goal. And straight from the puck-out Mulcahy picked out Dowling, who hit the net again from the ground.

Two points from Shane McNaughton either side of a Liam Watson free revived Antrim's slim hopes, but just after the quarter-hour mark Mulcahy amazingly hit the net again for Limerick to deflate the northerners' challenge.

However, despite their deficit this triggered Antrim's best period of the game as seven points in 10 minutes saw them pull back to 5-7 to 0-13 at the break.

Dowling notched his third goal, and Moran and Mulcahy both added their second after the break before Neil McManus raised a late consolation green flag for Antrim.

Scorers -- Limerick: S Dowling 3-9 (0-5f, 0-1 '65') G Mulcahy 2-4, N Moran 2-0, S Tobin 1-3, D Hannon 0-6, S O'Brien 0-2, T O'Brien, R McCarthy 0-1 each. Antrim: L Watson 0-7 (0-5f 0-1pen), N McManus 1-1, S McNaughton 0-3, B McAuley 0-2, N McAuley, E McCloskey 0-1 each.

Limerick: N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy, T Condon; W McNamara, D O'Grady, G O'Mahony; J Ryan, T O'Brien; S Dowling, B Geary, D Breen; G Mulcahy, N Moran, S Tobin. Subs: D Hannon for Breen (16), S O'Brien for Geary (50), S O'Neill for Condon (53), S Hickey for McNamara (54).

Antrim: D Quinn; PJ O'Connell, N McGarry, A Graffin; M Gettens, J Campbell, N McAuley; B McAuley, S McNaughton; E McCloskey, N McManus, B McFall; P Shiels, C Carson, L Watson. Subs: J Kerr for O'Connell (21), J Scullion for McFall (h-t), M Hernon for Gettens (46).

Referee: J Ryan (Tipperary)

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