Limerick’s promotion hopes alive after Carlow win

Colm Kinsella

Reporter:

Colm Kinsella

DONAL O’Grady’s Limerick side took another step towards promotion to Division 1 of the NHL when they carried too much hurling know-how for a plucky Carlow side at Dr Cullen Park yesterday.

DONAL O’Grady’s Limerick side took another step towards promotion to Division 1 of the NHL when they carried too much hurling know-how for a plucky Carlow side at Dr Cullen Park yesterday.

DONAL O’Grady’s Limerick side took another step towards promotion to Division 1 of the NHL when they carried too much hurling know-how for a plucky Carlow side at Dr Cullen Park yesterday.

Paying their first visit to the splended Carlow venue for the first time since the 1981-’82 league season, Limerick were the dominant force in this game. They put some classy moves together and had a potent attacker in right full forward Sean Tobin - the Murroe/Boher clubman finished with a tally of 2-4.

The home side matched their fancied opponents for much of the opening half, scoring the game’s opening two points from Eddie Byrne and Mark Brennan. But Kevin Ryan’s side was making too many fundamental mistakes and Limerick were quick to swoop on these errors and to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Carlow missed four scoreable frees in that opening half and those misses meant that the home county’s confidence took a knock.

Still Limerick only led 0-8 to 0-6 advantage in the 23rd minute. But then they hit a rich scoring vein before the interval, outscoring Carlow by 1-6 to 0-1 to take their anticipated grip on the game. Sitting on a 1-14 to 0-7 interval lead the Treaty men were well on their way to victory.

The goal came on 34 minutes when Tobin cruised through the heart of the home defence to shoot to the net.

In the second half Carlow remained competitive but after a strong period of early pressure which only produced a pointed free from Ruairi Dunbar, the visitors struck for a second goal on 44 minutes when Tobin availed of some slack defending to score his second goal.

Limerick scored a third goal when Blackrock’s Richie McCarthy was provider for full forward Paudie McNamara on 50 minutes as the league leader assumed a 3-15 to 0-11 lead. Carlow continued to give of their best and had their reward when midfielder Eoin Nolan shot a goal in the late stages.

But overall there was a clear difference in hurling skill between these sides – Limerick’s first touch and ability to pick out well-placed colleagues was superior to Carlow, who tended to over-elaborate in possession.

In all eight Limerick players scored with Donie Ryan making a camoe appearance for the final 13 minutes and recording two points from play.

Limerick manager Donal O’Grady said the Treaty County had come to Carlow expecting a tough battle and that’s what they had got. “The aim was to get two league points” the Corkman commented adding that Carlow were “very physical”.

Describing his side as continuing to be “a work in progress” the former Cork defender and manager said the hope is that they will make it through to the Division 2 final, which is a one-off game.

While this was a pretty routine victory for Limerick, the onus remains on O’Grady’s men to finish the job and gain promotion to Division 1 of the NHL.

Brian Geary, Donal O’Grady, Mark O’Riordan, Riochie McCarthy and Paudie McNamara were prominent in this Limerick win, with Sean Tobin being the outstanding player on view.