NHL Matchbox: Limerick keep title defence alive with win in Cork
National Hurling League
Division One Group A
Cork 2-21 Limerick 0-29
LIMERICK kept their National League title defence alive with a narrow win over Cork in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Limerick led by 0-17 to 0-11 at the break, but with Patrick Horgan helping himself to 0-17, Cork stormed back after the restart to twice take the lead before Limerick finished the stronger. Aaron Gillane hit 0-13 for the visitors.
Wearing specially designed black jerseys to mark the centenary of the deaths of mayors Tomás Mac Curtain and Terence McSwiney, Cork played second fiddle for long stages of the first-half, falling behind to a Cian Lynch point straight from the throw-in. With Gillane unerring and wing-back Paddy O'Loughlin also getting in on the scoring, Limerick led by six at the end of the first quarter.
Gillane converted four unanswered frees to extend the winners' lead to eight before Horgan replied with a brace at the other end to leave six in it at the break.
Cork were much-improved on the resumption and had levelled by the 47th minute thanks to a fine individual goal from Shane Kingston and a string of points from Horgan.
The Rebels hit the front for the first time, 2-18 to 0-21, in the 53rd minute when substitute Aidan Walsh fielded a Horgan free and dispatched the sliotar past Nickey Quaid.
Kyle Hayes restored parity for the 2018 All-Ireland champions and the lead changed hands a couple of more times before late points from wing-back Diarmaid Byrnes ('65) and Gillane sent the visiting fans home happy.
Waterford 0-17 Galway 0-16
PAURIC Mahony contributed 0-8 of the total as Waterford saw off Galway for their third win of the National League campaign yesterday.
Galway badly missed the accuracy of Joe Canning, who was replaced by Brian Concannon at centre-forward, while captain Pádraic Mannion went off injured after only 18 minutes.
Four unanswered points from Calum Lyons, Mahony and Kevin Moran sent the Déise into the break with a 0-11 to 0-8 advantage.
Conor Whelan's third and fourth points from play narrowed the gap before Mahony gave Waterford some breathing space again. But Galway fought back to level before Peter Hogan struck late for the win.
Tipperary 3-27 Westmeath 0-16
TIPPERARY easily dismissed the challenge of Westmeath at Semple Stadium yesterday to register their first win of the campaign in Division One.
Jason Forde hit a total of 0-14 to help the All-Ireland champions into a commanding lead over the Leinster men. A late flourish of 1-1 from Séamus Callanan added gloss to the scoreline for the hosts.
Westmeath's cause wasn't helped by a straight red card for top-scorer Killian Doyle following an incident involving Seán O'Brien five minutes into the second-half.
Division One Group B
Dublin 0-18 Wexford 2-14
WEXFORD made it three wins from four in Group B of Division One thanks to a superb injury-time goal from substitute Jack O'Connor at Croke Park.
With his side trailing by two points, the St Martin's man soloed in from the Cusack Stand side of the pitch before finishing to the bottom left hand corner of the net. A win for the Yellowbellies had looked unlikely as they had trailed for most of the game and had both Conor McDonald (straight red) and Shaun Murphy (second yellow) sent-off in a frantic final quarter.
McDonald will now miss the final round against Carlow, where a win will secure a quarter-final place for Davy Fitzgerald's men.
Laois 0-15 Carlow 0-14
ROSS King was the star of the show for Laois on Saturday night, his 12 points helping them over the line against Carlow in O'Moore Park as they made sure of their Division One status for another year.
In horrendous conditions in Portlaoise, the home side led by five at the break, with King and Willie and Aaron Dunphy all finding their mark with the wind at their backs.
Marty Kavanagh found the target 11 times for the Barrowsiders and saw a late free tail left and wide with a share of the spoils beckoning after King had hit what turned out to be the winning point.
Kilkenny 1-19 Clare 3-13
CLARE booked their place in the league knock-out stages thanks to a draw with Kilkenny at Nowlan Park yesterday.
The Cats led by 1-16 to 2-9 with an hour played, Ger Aylward grabbing their goal 13 minutes after the restart, but found themselves a point adrift with a minute of normal time remaining after Shane O'Donnell scoring his second goal, 3-12 to 1-17.
Walter Walsh and Alan Murphy – with his seventh converted free – took it in turns to equalise, substitute Aaron Cunningham briefly restoring the Banner's lead in between.
With a crowd of nearly 6,000 looking on, 17 wides scuppered Clare's chances of recording a fourth straight win, while the Cats dug in to keep their own hopes of progression alive ahead of their final day trip to Laois.
Kerry 1-12 Wicklow 1-20
KERRY are all but certain of a place in the Division 2A final after making it four wins from four against Wicklow in Arklow.
Fintan O'Connor's men prevailed by eight points after weathering a Wicklow storm at the start of the second-half when Pádraig Doyle netted to reduce the deficit to five. A goal from Jason Diggins helped the Kingdom to reestablish a healthy lead they never relinquished.
Mayo 1-13 Offaly 5-29
OFFALY dismissed Mayo with consummate ease at the Connacht Centre of Excellence in Bekan yesterday afternoon.
The star of the show David Nally bagged 3-2 for Michael Fennelly's side, while David King and Oisín Kelly also raised green flags. Eoghan Cahill top-scored with 0-12, while Mayo's goal was scored by Brian Morley in the second-half.
Kildare 5-21 Roscommon 2-12
KILDARE were comfortable winners over Roscommon yesterday afternoon, with Jack Sheridan hitting two majors for the Lilywhites. The win keeps Kildare on top of Division 2B, ahead of Down on scoring difference.
Sligo 2-17 Leitrim 1-15
SLIGO are close to reaching their second Division 3B final in succession following yesterday's win over neighbours Leitrim. The Yeats county lost last year's final to Longford and a win over Cavan next time out will give them a chance to make amends for that defeat.