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Moran on song as Limerick back in final equation

LIMERICK'S campaign is very much back on track following this impressive eight-point victory at Wexford Park yesterday.

Having lost their opening game to Clare, the Shannonsiders bounced back against Laois, and with this follow-up victory over a disappointing Wexford, they are now back in with a real chance of securing a place in the divisional final.

It was nip and tuck through the first 20 minutes, but once David Breen netted his side's opening goal in the 21st minute, they assumed control.

Limerick used possession better, varying their game throughout, as they moved the ball diagonally and at pace when required. They also utilised the high ball down the centre, where David Breen and Niall Moran won the aerial battle hands down, finishing the game with 2-7 of their side's final tally.

As for Wexford, they were unable to utilise their possession to the same effect as their opponents, while the attack never functioned as a unit, with the result they never threatened Nicky Quaid in the visitors' goal.

Wexford moved two points clear inside the opening 10 minutes, 0-4 to 0-2, but the sides continued to trade points and were deadlocked at 0-6 each when Limerick struck for the game's opening goal.

Moran gathered a high James Ryan delivery close to goal, picked out the inrushing Breen with a neat pass, leaving the Na Piarsaigh clubman to fire home and set up a 1-10 to 0-9 interval lead.

When Rory Jacob pointed within 30 seconds of the restart it lifted the large home following, but once Limerick responded with their second goal within a minute, the result was a foregone conclusion.

Once again Moran availed of a high ball to the 14-metre line, rounded Keith Rossiter, before going on to easily beat Niall Breen from close range, giving his side a six point cushion, 2-10 to 0-10.

Graeme Mulcahy fired over two excellent points as the visitors' dominance increased, but the home side kept on battling, adding points through Harry Kehoe, long free, and a Guiney close in free which rose over the crossbar, closing the gap again, 2-13 to 0-13, after 48 minutes.

Limerick were making the most of their opportunities, with Conor Allis firing over two successive points, one free, and while Rory Jacob and Paul Browne exchanged points, a Wexford recovery never looked like materialising. They were second to the ball, while the quality of the Limerick striking and team-work was far superior. This led to further excellent scores in the closing stages, as they built up a comfortable lead, with Allis, Mulcahy and Moran very much on target with some splendid efforts.

Limerick were reduced to 14 players in the 70th minute when team captain Breen was sent off on a second yellow card offence.

With two rounds of games left to play, the Shannon-siders are back on course, while, for Wexford, it's very much a battle against relegation.

Man of the Match: Niall Moran (Lim)

SCORERS -- Limerick: N Moran 1-5, D O'Grady 1-2, C Allis 0-6 (5f), G Mulcahy 0-3, G O'Mahoney (f) , P Browne, M Ryan, N Maher 0-1 each. Wexford: H Kehoe 0-7, (5f, 1 '65'), J Guiney 0-3 (2f, 1, 65), D Redmond, D O'Keeffe, S Banville 0-2 each, PJ Nolan, R Jacob, 0-1 each.

Limerick -- N Quaid 7; S Walsh 7, R McCarthy 7, T Condon 7; W McNamara 7, D O'Grady 8, G O'Mahoney 7; P Browne 6, J Ryan 7; T O'Brien 6, D Breen 8, C Allis 8; G Mulcahy 7, N Moran 9, M Ryan 6. Subs: S Tobin 7 for M Ryan (ht), N Maher 6 for O'Brien (56), T Ryan for Ryan (61).

Wexford -- N Breen 7; J Tonks 6, K Rossiter 6, B Kehoe 6; D Stamp 7, M O'Hanlon 6, C Kenny 7; H Kehoe 6, D Redmond 7; J Berry 5, E Quigley 6, P J Nolan 5; R Jacob 6, S Banville 6, D O'Keeffe 7. Subs: J Guiney 6 for Berry (23), E Moore 6 for Quigley (48), T O'Leary 6 for Nolan (48), J Leacy for Kehoe (64), P Morris for Banville (64).

Ref --C Lyons (Cork)

Irish Independent