Promoted after winning the All-Ireland junior last year, Limerick’s return to intermediate ladies football after an absence of three years had the misfortune to run into a Tipperary side rated most unlucky to have been relegated. Still smarting from their drop from the top table, the hosts were in no mood to be generous in the Munster championship double-header in Thurles on Saturday evening as they ran riot in a one-sided opening round. - TIPPERARY 10-22 LIMERICK 0-4
“Tipp were mesmerising,” was all manager John Ryan could say afterwards. “We’ve an awful lot of work to do before we meet Clare in three weeks time.”
The biggest difference between the side was the awesome contribution of the Premier’s Aisling Moloney who not only bagged a stunning tally of 4-13 herslef but also had a hand in almost every other of her side’s scores. Right from the start, she proved a nightmare for the succession of Limerick defenders detailed to mark her, none of whom could her upset her vision and mastery of every skill in the game.
In an omen of what was to come, Anna Rose Kennedy had Tipp off the mark inside nineteen seconds and Moloney followed up immediately from play and a free. Limerick tried to get out of their own half but clearances were hovered up by the Premier half-backs, feeding Moloney, Caoimhe Condon and Cáitlín Kennedy to stretch the margin.
Moloney was harshly pulled for a square ball after she pressured Máire Lyons’s save off Condon’s long delivery to the net but the free kick was immediately returned for an Anna Cary point. Limerick’s world then caved in when Aisling McCarthy, on a pass and return with Moloney, handpassed to the net and, as the kickout came back, Moloney fed Anna Rose Kennedy for the hosts’ second goal.
A Moloney point was followed by Carey blasting pating past Lyons off a barnstorming run. Kennedy widened the margin to seventeen before a Catriona Davis free finally got Limerick off the mark. After Moloney struck back twice, Tipp briefly took the foot off the gas as Davis and Mairéad Kavanagh, blazing just over, found the mark but Moloney immediately punished the visitors as she slotted home a goal of her own and followed up with two frees to put her side 4-13 to 0-3 ahead
at the break.
Tipp’s first two attacks of the second half were repulsed before Moloney’s goal off a run in from the right reopened the floodgates. After she added a free and struck from play, she set up the unmarked Condon for goal number six and she and Condon then followed up with points before Ava Hartigan found a reply after Tipp emptied the bench.
Róisín Daly’s point preceded her feeding sub Angela McGuigan for another goal which was followed Laura Dillon and Daly finding the target. After a run of wides,Moloney’s second goal unleashed Tipp’s closing onslaught as McGuigan also bagged her second, Moloney added two points and McCarthy brought the curtain down on the rout.
SCORERS, TIPPERARY: Aisling Moloney 4-13 (0-4 frees), Angela McGuigan 2-0, Anna Rose Kennedy 1-2, Anna Carey, Caoimhe Condon, Aisling McCarthy 1-1 each, Róisín Daly 0-2, Cáitlín Kennedy, Laura Dillon 0-1 each;
LIMERICK: Catriona Davis 0-2 (1 free), Mairéad Kavanagh, Ava Hartigan 0-1 each.
TIPPERARY: Lauren Fitzpatrick; Lucy Spilane, Samantha Lambert, Niamh Martin; Bríd Condon Maria Corley, Cáitlín Kennedy; Anna Rose Kennedy, Aisling McCarthy; Róisín Daly Aisling Moloney, Caoimhe Condon; Courtney, Anna Carey, Ava Fennessy. SUBS: Emma Cronin for Lucy Spillane (40 minutes), Laura Dillon for Bríd Condon (40 minutes), Marie Creedon for Cáitlín Kennedy (40 minutes), Emma Moloney for Courtney Lonergan (40 minutes), Angela McGuigan for Anna Carey (40 minutes).
LIMERICK: Máire Lyons; Rebekah Daly, Ava Hartigan, Jenni O’Malley; Kristine Reidy, Niamh Ryan, Cathy Mee; Loretta Hanley, Megan O’Shea; Cliodhna Ní Cheallaigh, Mairéad Kavanagh, Olivia Giltenane; Orlaith O’Donoghue, Catriona Davis, Caroline Hickey. SUBS: Ciara Ryan for Jenni O’Malley (18 minutes), Ciara Ryan for Orlaith O’Donoghue (half-time), Eimear Quinn for Olivia Giltenane (36 minutes), Amy Ryan for Rebekah Daly (50 minutes), Síofra Keane for Mairéad Kavanagh (54 minutes).
REFEREE: Éamonn Moran (Kerry).