NHL Matchbox: Limerick break their duck against Cork while Galway overwhelm Waterford
National Hurling League
Division One Group A
Limerick 0-33 Cork 2-19
LIMERICK broke their Division One duck with a dominant performance against Cork at the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday night.
Going into the game, Limerick had drawn with Tipperary and lost to Galway and Waterford, while Cork were unbeaten in their three games, but a more experienced Treaty side never trailed and enjoyed a 10-point half-time lead.
Although John Kiely’s men hit a total of 20 wides on Saturday they already led by 0-6 to 0-1 after eight minutes, with Cian Lynch leading the way, while Aaron Gillane registered the first of his 0-10.
However, by the 12th minute, Cork were level. Shane Kingston and Conor Cahalane pointed before Jack O’Connor was in the right place to slot home a rebound from a Cahalane strike to make it 0-6 to 1-3.
Two excellent Peter Casey points had Limerick back in front, with three more in succession – including two from wing-back Colin Coughlan – leaving the All-Ireland champions in command at the water-break. By half-time, they were 0-20 to 1-7 in front, with nine different players on the scoresheet.
Cork introduced Niall Cashman, Luke Meade and captain Patrick Horgan at the break, but Limerick settled easily, with Gillane, Tom Morrissey and man of the match Diarmaid Byrnes all pointing.
While Cork got a second goal through O’Connor and three Horgan frees brought them to within seven points, Limerick were never seriously troubled. Subs Cathal O’Neill and Adrian Breen grabbed late points for the Treaty as they won by eight.
Galway 4-28 Waterford 3-23
A BRACE of majors from Brian Concannon and one apiece from Joe Canning and Adrian Tuohey helped Galway ease past Waterford in a high-scoring, high-quality clash at Pearse Stadium.
At one stage of the first-half, the Déise, inspired by the brilliant Calum Lyons, led by seven points but nevertheless went in at the break trailing by 3-13 to 2-12. Galway got on top in the second quarter thanks largely to the influence of Cathal Mannion at midfield.
The skillsets of Concannon, Canning and Conor Whelan helped the Westerners see out the second-half.
Westmeath 0-16 Tipperary 4-27
AS expected, Tipperary sauntered to a comfortable victory over Westmeath at Cusack Park in Mullingar yesterday afternoon.
Despite a slow start, it was a hugely impressive performance from Liam Sheedy’s Munster men, who led 1-15 to 0-7 at half time, although they still managed 11 wides. A red card for Robert Byrne midway through the second-half was the only setback for Tipp on the day as they eased to a 23-point win, which included a 1-8 contribution from substitutes.
The Premier county will complete their league schedule with a trip to Waterford this weekend, while pointless Westmeath have the unenviable task of hosting All-Ireland champions Limerick.
Division One Group B
Kilkenny 1-29 Laois 0-22
KILKENNY confirmed their grasp on top spot in Group B with a battling win over winless Laois at Nowlan Park yesterday.
While the Cats led by 1-15 to 0-9 at the break, their goal coming from a Liam Blanchfield strike, the O’Moore men were a team transformed on the resumption. Ross King at centre-forward, PJ Scully, Paddy Purcell and Jack Kelly were all to the fore at the visitors got on top of Kilkenny and set about reducing the deficit.
The Cats always had just that bit extra, however, and late points from John Donnelly, James Bergin and substitute Jody O’Dwyer put a bit of gloss on the scoreline for Brian Cody’s men.
Dublin 2-23 Clare 0-34
TONY Kelly put in a mammoth display for Clare as the Munster men saw off Dublin with a strong second-half display at Parnell Park on Saturday.
Having missed the win over Laois with a dead leg, Ballyea sharpshooter Kelly was back to his brilliant best against the Dubs, hitting 0-20 in all, 0-15 of them from frees.
Brian Lohan’s men trailed by two at half-time after conceding two quick-fire goals which wiped out a 0-12 to 0-9 lead.
However, with Kelly to the fore, the Banner outscored their hosts by 0-19 to 0-12 in the second-half to help ease any relegation worries.