JOHN Galvin made his first appearance for Limerick in almost a year on Saturday as Limerick beat Kilkenny on a scoreline 0f 1-31 to 0-1 in the Allianz Football League Division 4.
Galvin was struck down by a knee injury before last year’s championship and missed the county’s run to the All Ireland quarter-final. But the Croom midfielder made a welcome return to action and his return couldn’t come at a better time as Limerick look to escape Division 4 once again.
While the 31-point winning margin will have done no harm to Limerick’s scoring difference, they learned nothing from a game that never threatened to be a contest. Limerick could well have won by more - they hit 18 wides in total.
Limerick took their time to get moving as Michael Malone gave the Cats a presence under the kickout and were restricted to points from Mike Quilligan, Johnny McCarthy. John Riordan and Quilligan again up to the quarter mark.
However, once Ryan’s free ended an extended run of wides, the attack began to put the runs together and the continuous pressure relentlessly opened the gap. Ryan, John Cooke, Collins, Quilligan, Seánie Buckley, Collins, Kelly and Ryan had them 13 points to the good before Ryan rounded his marker and drilled to the far corner of JJ O’Sullivan’s net. Collins and Stephen Lavin then added a pair to leave the hosts leading 1-15 to 0-0 at the break.
The rout continued after the break and Galvin was the first sub introduced six minutes into the second half. While the Croom legend looked rusty after his nine-month cruciate absence, his presence alone lifted Limerick’s performance in a sector in which they’ve struggled all season.
Limerick travel to Aughrim next Sunday to take on Wicklow where a win will be crucial if they are to stay in touch for a Division 4 final place and promotion to Division 3.
SCORERS - Limerick: Ian Ryan 1-7 (0-4 frees), Stephen Kelly 0-6, Ger Collins 0-5, Mike Quilligan 0-3, Seanie Buckley 0-3 (one free), John Cooke 0-2, Johnny McCarthy, John Riordan, Stephen Lavin and Stephen Lucey 0-1 each; Kilkenny: Kieran Bergin 0-1.
LIMERICK - Brian Scanlon; Johnny McCarthy, Stephen Nix, Lorcan O’Dwyer; Stephen Lavin, John Riordan, Pa Ranahan; Seán Buckley, Barry Fitzpatrick; Stephen Kelly, Mike Quilligan, Eoin Barry; Ger Collins, John Cooke, Ian Ryan. Subs: Donal O’Sullivan for Brian Scanlon (ht), John Galvin for Eoin Barry (41 mins), Stephen Lucey for John Cooke (47 mins), Paul Kinnerk for Barry Fitzpatrick (53 mins), Kevin Nolan for Mike Quilligan (57 mins).
KILKENNY - JJ O’Sullivan; Declan Grennan, Paul Donnelly, JJ Grace; Stephen Duggan; Kevin O’Brien, Richard O’Hara, Stephen Duggan; Michael Malone, Kieran Bergin; Darren Fitzpatrick, Cian Tyler, Robert Shore; Ray O’Keeffe, James Culleton, Joe Dollard. Subs: Peter McBride for Cian Tyler (ht).
REFEREE - Éamonn O’Grady (Leitrim)