Allianz HL D1: Limerick through to semi-finals after win over Waterford
Allianz Hurling League Division 1
LIMERICK 1-21 WATERFORD 1-17
By John Fallon at LIT Gaelic Grounds
Limerick advanced to the semi-finals of the Allianz League having never trailed in difficult conditions at the LIT Gaelic Grounds.
Waterford never gave up and will now face into a league quarter-final encounter next weekend.
Limerick were on top for long periods of the opening half but had to be content with a 1-8 to 0-7 lead at the break.
Waterford only managed one point from play in the opening half with midfielder Jamie Barron scoring after 13 minutes but six frees from Pauric Mahony kept them in contention and the gap would have been closer had he not been off target with three more placed balls.
Limerick, with Cian Lynch on top in midfield and Graeme Mulcahy, David Dempsey and Aaron Gillane sharp in attack, had to be content with a four points interval advantage after both sides shot half a dozen wides each in the wet conditions.
The only goal of the opening half came seven minutes from the break when Gearoid Hegarty finished off a flowing move which also involved Lynch and Dempsey to put Limerick into a commanding 1-7 to 0-4 lead.
However, Liam Cahill’s men did not panic and their response was good.
Patrick Curran was wide with a goal chance but then Mahony landed three more frees before the break.
Dempsey hit back with his second point for Limerick after Graeme Mulcahy had earlier hit three excellent points for the league champions.
The sides swapped points three times in the third quarter before Gillane, Hegarty and Mulcahy hit points for Limerick to lead by 1-14 to 0-10 after 55 minutes.
Calum Lyons responded with a point for Waterford and while Gillane and sub Paddy O’Loughlin landed points for Limerick, Waterford got a lifeline 12 minutes from time.
Impressive sub Jack Fagan soloed through to shoot a goal and reduce the margin to 1-16 to 1-11 as the crowd of 9,087 got set for a tight finish.
But Hegarty landed another point to take his total to 1-3 and Gillane had a goal effort turned over the bar by Shaun O’Brien to lead by seven with as many minutes remaining.
Waterford kept battling away but with Hegarty taking his total to 1-5 they were unable to get within striking distance as the champions held on for victory.
Scorers for Limerick: Gearoid Hegarty 1-5, Aaron Gillane 0-7 (5f), Graeme Mulcahy 0-4, David Dempsey 0-2, David Reidy 0-1, Paddy O’Loughlin 0-1, Robbie Hanley 0-1.
Scorers for Waterford: Pauric Mahony 0-7 (6f), Jack Fagan 1-0, Stephen Bennett 0-3 (2f), Jamie Barron 0-2 Calum Lyons 0-1, Peter Hogan 0-1, Darragh Lyons 0-1, Iarlaith Daly 0-1, Billy Power 0-1.
LIMERICK: Nickie Quaid; Barry Nash, Mike Casey, Aaron Costello; Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon, Dan Morrissey; Cian Lynch, Kyle Hayes; Gearoid Hegarty, David Reidy, Conor Boylan; Aaron Gillane, David Dempsey, Graeme Mulcahy. *Subs: *Sean Finn for Costello (38), Paddy O’Loughlin for Byrnes (44), Brian Ryan for Boylan (66), Robbie Hanley for Hayes (69).
WATERFORD: Shaun O’Brien; Conor Gleeson, Conor Prunty, Shane McNulty; Calum Lyons, Iarlaith Daly, Tom Barron; Jamie Barron, Mark O’Brien; MJ Sutton, Pauric Mahony, Neil Montgomery; Patrick Curran, Stephen Bennett, Jack Prendergast. *Subs: *Jack Fagan for O’Brien (31), Peter Hogan for Sutton (34), Mikey Kearney for Prendergast (52), Billy Power for Curran (55), Darragh Lyons for Daly (65).
Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow).