LIMERICK took a massive step towards promotion from Division 4 of the Allianz NFL thanks to a hard-fought 0-8 to 0-6 over Waterford in Dungarvan on Saturday night.
Yet regardless of how tight the result was and how many scoring opportunities their opponents threw away, Limerick were full value for their victory. Never once headed from start to finish, they always had that extra gear of control.
Limerick had their own ace in attack. When the second half turned into a gunfight, Ian Ryan matched Gary Hurney until sub Seanie Buckley struck four minutes from time to stretch the advantage to three.
For the third game in a row and despite starting without Johnny McCarthy, the Limerick rearguard frustrated the opposition by smothering the paths towards their goals and forcing the ball-carriers into taking the hasty option.
Although Waterford made the early attacks, John Riordan burst onto the layoff to open the scoring and Limerick could have landed the haymaker when Eoghan O’Connor’s handpass floated across the unprotected goalmouth. The hosts made the most of the escape to build the clearance into Gavin Nugent’s equaliser.
Waterford ran up a string of wides before they brought on Hurney as Eoghan O’Connor increased the lead off Lee’s break from midfield. The Decies tried both Liam Ó Lonáin’s runs and the high ball into Hurney and Rob Aherne but the Limerick defence held out until Hurney’s free left his side trailing 0-4 to 0-3 at the break. A couple of Ian Ryan points kept Limerick ahead and the introduction of Seanie Buckley and Darragh Treacy steadied
Limerick’s tiring midfield and the pressure lifted when Buckley added point. Waterford gave it one last try but they couldn’t muster the scores needed to take something from the game.
SCORERS - Limerick: Ian Ryan 0-4 (two frees), John Riordan, Ger Collins, Séamus O’Carroll, Seanie Buckley 0-1 each; Waterford: Gary Hurney 0-5 (two frees), Gavin Nugent (0-1). LIMERICK - Brian Scanlon; Cian Coady, Lorcan O’Dwyer, Mark O’Riordan; Stephen Lavin, Paudie Browne, Pa Ranahan; Tom Lee, Bobby O’Brien; James O’Meara, John Riordan, Séamus O’Carroll; Ger Collins, Eoghan O’Connor, Ian Ryan. Subs: Derry O’Connor for O’Carroll (45 mins), Iain Corbett for O’Meara (51 mins), Seanie Buckley for Tom Lee (54 mins),
WATERFORD - Stephen Enright; Conor Phelan, Stephen Prendergast, Maurice O’Gorman; Tony Grey, Shane Briggs, John Hurney; Shane Aherne, Tommy Prendergast; Liam Ó Lonáin, Paul Whyte, Patrick Hurney; Darren Guiry, Robert Aherne, Gavin Nugent. SUBS: Gary Hurney for Paul Whyte (19 mins), Martin Scurry for Gavin Nugent (41 mins), David Hallahan for Darren Guiry (52 mins), Seán O’Hare for Tommy Prendergast (61 mins).
REFEREE: John Hickey (Carlow).