THE Limerick hurlers scored a dramatic 4-16 to 3-18 win over Wexford this Sunday to maintain their promotion push from Division 1B of the Allianz Hurling League.
Limerick trailed for long periods in Innovate Wexford Park until it fell to sub Seanie O’Brien to snatch the injury time winner.
Next up for Limerick is a home tie with Offaly next Saturday in the Gaelic Grounds.
This round three contest was very much like the opening night against Waterford except on this occasion Limerick forged ahead late-on to secure the win. After drawing that round one tie with Waterford, the two counties now remain unbeaten and it could yet come down to scoring difference between the two, although both have two games yet to play.
Limerick were dragged all over the place in the south-east in the first half but were a changed outfit in the second half and just about deserved the victory - although Limerick were only ahead for a total of seven minutes out of the 70!
It fell to sub Seanie O’Brien to snatch the injury time winner in an end-to-end contest.
At half time Limerick trailed 3-9 to 2-9.
It was an opening half where Limerick played with the aid of the tricky cross-field wind. However, the Wexford tactics saw the Limerick defence under pressure from the off. Long diagonal balls saw Wexford get in behind Limerick at ease.
And, that was after Limerick had settled first and led 0-3 to 0-1 after five minutes with David Breen, Declan Hannon and debutante John Fitzgibbon on the mark.
Then came the first Wexford goal in the seventh minute when Liam Og McGovern found the net - 1-1 to 0-4.
On 15-minutes John Fitzgibbon had the first of the Limerick goals but within two minutes Jack Guiney had replied with another Wexford goal. That had the home side 2-2 too 1-4 clear on 16-minutes and Wexford then dominated to lead 2-5 to 1-5 on 21-minutes.
Declan Hannon caught a great puckout and pointed but it was only a temporary reprieve as Wexford stretched 3-8 to 1-6 clear. The Model County’s third goal came in the 25th minute from McGovern again.
The Limerick response was immediate and vital.
David Reidy and Fitzgibbon pointed from distance and then five minutes from the interval came a stroke of luck when a long range Dowling free went all the way to the net for a fortuitous goal. That left it 3-9 to 2-9 at the break.
There were harsh words in the Limerick half time dressing room and it worked. The opening minutes of the second half were crucial and Limerick kept Wexford from extending the lead.
There was only one score before Limerick had their third goal in the ninth minute of the half. That goal came from Declan Hannon but Limerick still trailed 3-10 to 3-9.
It was an opening to the second period that was low on scores and 17-minutes into the second half the game was all-level 3-12 each.
But it was Wexford that pushed forward to the finishing line with five of the next six points to lead 3-17 to 3-13 with 8-minutes left.
Not for the first time, Limerick’s huge character and spirit saw them refuse to throw in the towel and TJ Ryan’s side were to hit four of the last five points to snatch the win.
Sub Seanie Tobin started the late fight back with a 64th minute point.
Then in the 65th minute came the fourth crucial goal. Declan Hannon had just missed a chance when Seamus Hickey followed up with a piledriver from 25-metres. That was saved but David Breen flicked the rebound to the net to leave it 4-14 to 3-17.
A Guiney free had Wexford back in front but Limerick weren’t done. A Dowling free levelled again and injury time sub O’Brien scored the vital winner.