LIMERICK’S footballers were beaten 1-21 to 0-13 by Roscommon this Sunday in round three of Division 3 of the National Football League.
Limerick may not be one of football’s more successful counties but rarely are they overwhelmed.
It can happen occasionally in the championship against Munster’s big two but not against national league division three opposition.
This Sunday in Kiltoom, Roscommon broke from the script and dished out one of the team’s most comprehensive hammerings in years.
After just thirty minutes, the result was already cut and dried. Using all the knowledge picked up against his opponents while running the show in Tipperary, Rossie manager John Evans knew exactly how to set up shop and his players ruthlessly executed the plan to carve out a fourteen point lead.
Enda Smith and Cregg had the hosts two up inside a minute and, while John Mullane replied, the difference between the sides roared into view as the Rossies then racked up nine without reply. Senan Kilbride, Diarmuid Murtagh, Cregg, Conor Daly, Murtagh, Daly, Kilbride’s free, Daly and Shine collected, shot and found the target without breaking their stride while Limerick attacks broke down on the final pass or were squeezed into a vain series of lateral passes. Even when direct running smashed holes in the defensive screen, Micheál Brosnan saw his goal disallowed for overcarrying, Mullane shot inches wide and Tom Lee was denied by a despairing heel crossing the goal line.
Eoin Hanrahan broke the sequence through the resulting ‘45’ but Cregg, Murtagh’s goal off a string of passes and Cregg again widened the gap before Ian Ryan’s free and Cregg’s reply left the score at 1-14 to 0-3 at the break.
The visitors had four chances on the restart but converted just Brosnan’s as Daly and Cregg struck on the counter. Despite Ryan hitting back with a free, Limerick heads began to drop as Shine, Kevin Higgins and Cregg widened the gap to a yawning seventeen points.
Substitutions changed the tempo as the game edged into the final quarter and the Munstermen found their rhythm as they shed the caution of their first half. John Riordan, just inches over, Iain Corbett, Seanie Buckley, Killian Phair, Buckley again and Séamus O’Carroll’s ‘45 brought a modicum of respectability. After Shine’s free ended sixteen scoreless Roscommon minutes, Ryan replied in kind and then scored from play before Shine closed the scoring.
SCORERS: ROSCOMMON: Cathal Cregg 0-7, Diarmuid Murtagh 1-2, Conor Daly, Donie Shine (2frees) 0-4 each, Senan Kilbride (1free) 0-2, Enda Smith, Kevin Higgins 0-1 each; LIMERICK: Ian Ryan 0-4 (3frees), Seanie Buckley 0-2, John Mullane, Eoin Hanrahan (‘45), Micheál Brosnan, John Riordan, Iain Corbett, Killian Phair, Séamus O’Carroll (‘45) 0-1 each.
ROSCOMMON: Darren O’Malley; Neil Collins, Niall Carty, Seán McDermott; David Keenan, Niall Daly, Ciarán Cafferky; Kevin Higgins, Cathal Shine; Enda Smith, Donie Shine, Conor Daly; Senan Kilbride, Cathal Cregg, Diarmuid Murtagh. SUBS: David O’Gara for Enda Smith (41 mins), Donal Keane for David O’Gara (inj 52 mins), Mark Nally for Conor Daly (56mins), Donie Smith for Cathal Cregg (59 mins), Finbar Cregg for Diarmuid Murtagh (59 mins).
LIMERICK: Donal O’Sullivan; Mark O’Riordan, Johnny McCarthy, John Riordan; Iain Corbett, Paudie Browne, James O’Meara; Tom Lee, Gearóid Hegarty; Micheál Brosnan, Eoin Hanrahan, Seanie Buckley; Ger Collins, John Mullane, Ian Ryan. SUBS: Stephen Lucey for James O’Meara (23 mins), Séamus O’Carroll for Gearóid Hegarty (28 mins), Darragh Treacy for Ger Collins (38 mins), Killian Phair for John Mullane (inj 52 mins), Mike Fitzgibbon for Eoin Hanrahan (56 mins), Derry McCarthy for Micheál Brosnan (57 mins).
REFEREE: Niall Ward (Westmeath).