Richie English, Limerick, and Kevin Foley, Wexford, in Allianz Hurling League action. Photo by Tyler Miller/Sportsfile
Richie English, Limerick, and Kevin Foley, Wexford, in Allianz Hurling League action. Photo by Tyler Miller/Sportsfile

Allianz HL D1: Impressive Limerick advance

Allianz Hurling League Division One Group A

Limerick 2-20 Wexford 0-15

By Tom Clancy at TUS Gaelic Grounds

Limerick qualified for the Allianz National Hurling League semi-finals, thanks to a 11-point triumph over Wexford at the TUS Gaelic Grounds. The All-Ireland Champions had threats from all over and proved too strong for the visitors.

Limerick showed exactly why they are likely to be in the contention for more honour this season, with scores coming from all over, with goals from Kyle Hayes and Aaron Gillane proving pivotal in keeping the margin over Wexford.

The first goal, on 10 minutes pushed Limerick 1-5 to 0-2 clear with Diarmaid Brynes also on target in the opening minutes. It was the left-wing back, Hayes, who raced through the middle, and was picked out from a wonderful pass from Cathal O’Neill, who had carried the ball a great distance. The Kildimo-Pallaskenry man buried low beyond Mark Fanning.

Wexford then hit three wides on the trot, when they could have inched their way back into the contest. They were struggling up front and despite playing an extra body in defence, couldn’t match Limerick’s movement, passing or intensity in the tackle.

They did have a goal chance nearing the half-time whistle. Charlie McGuckin saw a shot saved low by Nicky Quaid on 28 minutes, knowing that he probably needed to beat the Limerick keeper to ignite this contest.

It was 1-10 to 0-7 at half time, with Lee Chin getting six points from frees, as Wexford struggled to find any flow up front – both sides hit seven first half wides.

The second goal arrived on 39 minutes. A dropping shot from Cathal O’Neill wasn’t dealt with by Mark Fanning and the Patrickswell man, making his first start of the season, got a touch from inside the square to raise an unlikely green flag.

The Treaty county were easing to victory as Chin and co tried to close the margin. He was joined on the score sheet by Conor Hearne and Jack O’Connor. It ends a disappointing league campaign for the Slaneysiders, who will hope to improve ahead of the Leinster Championship, next month.

John Kiely’s men will now face Tipperary in a mount-watering semi-final in the coming weeks.

Scorers for Limerick: Aaron Gillane 1-5 (5fs), Diarmaid Byrnes 0-4 (2fs), Kyle Hayes 1-0, Tom Morrissey (1f) and Donnacha Ó Dálaigh 0-2 each, Richie English, Micháel Houlihan, Gearoid Hegarty, Cathal O’Neill, Mike Casey , Oisin O’Reilly, and Seamus Flanagan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Wexford: Lee Chin 0-11 (10fs), Ian Carty 0-2, Conor Hearne and Jack O’Connor 0-1 each.

Limerick: Nicky Quaid; Mike Casey, Dan Morrissey, Richie English; Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon, Kyle Hayes; Barry Murphy, Darragh O’Donovan; Michéal Houlihan, Cathal O’Neill, Gearoid Hegarty; Aaron Gillane, Seamus Flanagan, Conor Boylan.

Subs: Donnacha Ó Dálaigh for Gillane (54), Tom Morrissey for Houlihan (54), Colin Coughlan for Byrnes (62), Oisin O’Reilly for Boylan (62), Aidan O’Connor for Hegarty (68).

Wexford: Mark Fanning; Shane Reck, Simon Donohoe, Niall Murphy; Ian Carthy, Conor Foley, Jack O’Connor; Cathal Dunbar, Kevin Foley; Conor Hearne, Lee Chin, Charlie McGuckin; Rory Higgins, Mikie Dwyer, Rory O’Connor. 

Subs: Kyle Scallan for Foley (56), Corey Byrne Dunbar for Hearne (62), Connall Clancy for Higgins (67), Darragh Carley for Carthy (67).

Referee: Michael Kennedy (Tipperary).