Joe Canning led the way as a youthful Galway side edged out Limerick on a scoreline of 2-20 to 1-18 in a useful challenge match at Athenry on Saturday evening.
Galway manager Anthony Cunningham used 21 of last year’s All-Ireland winning U-21 panel throughout the 70 minutes, but it was Canning who proved the inspiration.
Galway led 0-13 to 0-7 at half-time, but then Canning blasted home a superb goal from 25 yards five minutes into the second-half.
After that the Galway management team emptied their bench and a Limerick revival ensued with midfielder Paul Browne leading the way and his fourth point of the day kick-started the Limerick revival.
Further points from Paudie O’Brien, Conor Allis, Thomas O’Brien and the fiery Niall Moran closed the gap, but once James Regan finished well four minutes after his introduction for Galway’s second goal, the result was beyond doubt.
But Limerick continued to toil and got their reward when Tommy Quaid goaled three minutes into injury-time to put a more realistic look to the final score.
With just three weeks to go until their championship opener against Tipperary, Limerick manager John Allen will be happy with his side’s willingness to fight to the end, but they will need a huge improvement in quality to test the 2010 champions.
SCORERS - Limerick: Conor Allis 0-6 (five frees), Paul Browne 0-4, Tommy Quaid 1-1, Paudie O’Brien 0-2, James Ryan, Niall Moran, Sean Tobin, David Breen, Thomas O’Brien 0-1 each. Galway: Joe Canning 1-8 (0-6 frees), J Regan 1-0, Andrew Smith, S Molloy, P Brehony and N Burke (one free) 0-2 each, R Cummins, D Glennon, N Quinn and T Og Regan 0-1 each
GALWAY - F Flannery; D Connolly, K Hynes, G O’Halloran; P Gordon, T Og Regan, I Tannian; A Smith, B Flaherty; P Brehony, J Glynn, C Cooney; R Cummins, J Canning, D Glennon. Subs: J Ryan for Flannery (half time), D Fox for Tannian (half time), S Molloy for Glennon (half time); N Quinn for Cooney (half time), B Burke for Glynn (half time); N Burke for Brehony (half time); N Donoghue for T Og Regan (half time); C Burke for O’Halloran (47 mins); P Huban for Connolly (47 mins); J Coen for Flaherty (49 mins); J Regan for Cummins (60 mins); F Moore for Hynes (60 mins), C Donnellan for Smith (65 mins), D Burke for Canning (65 mins)
LIMERICK - Nickie Quaid; Stephen Walsh, Richie McCarthy, Seamus Hickey; Wayne McNamara, Donal O’Grady, Tomas Ryan; James Ryan, Paul Browne; Sean O’Brien, Niall Maher, Conor Allis; Graeme Mulcahy, Niall Moran, Sean Tobin. Subs: Brian Geary for McCarthy (half time), David Breen for S O’Brien (half time), Paudie O’Brien for McNamara (half time), Tomas O’Brien for J Ryan (half time), Gavin O’Mahony for Maher (half time), Tom Condon for Walsh (half time), Tommy Quaid for Tobin (61 mins), Mark Carmody for Moran (61 mins)
REFEREE - John Keane (Galway)