LIMERICK were outclassed by Galway this Sunday afternoon in the quarter-finals of the National Hurling League.
The final score in the Gaelic Grounds was 1-20 to 1-12.
It was an eight point defeat for the Donal O’Grady and TJ Ryan managed side but on the field Limerick looked every bit the Division 1B side entertaining a Division 1A team.
Especially in the second half, Limerick looked very poor and Galway eased to the semi-final clash with Kilkenny on Easter Sunday.
At half time it was 1-8 to 0-8 to Galway but Anthony Cunningham’s side then totally dominated the second half and led 1-20 to 0-12 until James Ryan injury time consolation goal for Limerick.
Limerick were actually 0-5 to 0-2 ahead after nine minutes but were to score just 1-7 to Galway’s 1-18 in the remainder of the contest, which was played at a lacklustre level.
Galway played an extra man in defence and time after time Limerick frustrated the locals in the crowd of 4785 when delivering aimless ball into the attack, which the Galway defence cleaned up at their ease.
At the other end of the field, the Limerick full back line looked uneasy and but for some superb saves from Nickie Quaid and some last gasp defending Galway could have had more than one goal.
The goal came in the 15th minute when Conor Cooney struck a penalty to the net.
That had Galway 1-3 to 0-5 clear and they never looked back.
They were 1-7 to 0-6 clear before last first half points from Kevin Downes and James Ryan left just the goal between the sides at the break.
But Galway raced into a 1-15 to 0-10 lead midway through the second half and with a far superior supply of possession they weren’t going to allow Limerick back into the contest.
The defeat ends the league campaign for Limerick and thoughts now turn to the June 1 Munster championship clash with Tipperary in Thurles.
Limerick gave starts to 26 players in the six games of the league and there is no doubting that much work remains to be done ahead of the championship.
SCORERS: Limerick: James Ryan 1-3, Kevin Downes, Shane Dowling (2frees, 1 ‘65) 0-3 each, Conor Allis, Graeme Mulcahy, Alan Dempsey 0-1 each. Galway: Conor Cooney 1-9 (1-0pen, 4 ‘65, 3frees), David Burke 0-3, Jonathan Glynn, Padraig Brehony 0-2 each, Cathal Mannion, Niall Burke, Niall Healy, Damien Hayes 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: Nickie Quaid; Cathal King, Philip O’Loughlin, Tom Condon; Paudie O’Brien, Wayne McNamara, Gavin O’Mahony; Paul Browne, Donal O’Grady; Kevin Downes, James Ryan, David Reidy; Graeme Mulcahy, Shane Dowling, Conor Allis. Subs: Alan Dempsey for Paul Browne (54mins), mar Carmody for Cathal King (61mins), William Hickey for David Reidy (64mins).
GALWAY: Colm Callanan; Fergal Moore, Ronan Burke, David Collins; Aidan Harte, Iarla Tannion, Daithi Burke; Johnny Coen, Padraig Brehony; Niall Burke, Conor Cooney, David Burke; Niall Healy, Jonathan Glynn, Cathal Mannion. Subs: Joe Canning for Cathal Mannion (53mins), Jason Flynn for Johnny Coen (57mins), Damien Hayes for Niall Burke (61mins), Kevin Hynes for David Burke (61mins), Gearoid McInerney for Niall Healy (65mins).
REFEREE: Brian Gavin (Offaly).
See the print editions of the Limerick Leader for a full match report and interviews