LIMERICK WILL TAKE on Kilkenny in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship semi-finals on August 10th after recording a facile victory over a disappointing Wexford in Thurles.
Despite losing Donal O’Grady to a late calf injury, the Limerick forwards scored freely against Liam Dunne’s men. Treaty County manager TJ Ryan had called for his side to be more ruthless in front of goal in the build-up to this quarter-final and they delivered in that regard.
David Breen, Shane Dowling (2) and Paul Brown all found the net in what was a dominant performance from Limerick in Semple Stadium.
For Wexford, the recent bubble of optimism was burst in comprehensive fashion, as Dunne’s charges struggled to cope with Limerick’s whirlwind attack.
Dowling’s second-minute free got the ball rolling for Limerick on the scoreboard, before the sides exchanged points up until the 10-minute mark. Thereafter, the Treaty stepped up a gear, building as the half progressed.
While they enjoyed a consistent supply of points, Limerick had to wait until close to the half-hour to conjure a goal. It was an intelligent hand pass from Dowling that freed Breen to surge clear and flash the ball past Mark Fanning.
Wexford briefly stemmed the tide, but Limerick finished the half with two quick-fire goals from the irrepressible Dowling to all but finish the game as a contest.
First, the Na Piarsaigh man batted into the net after Breen’s shot was blocked by Fanning, then a run from Thomas Ryan allowed Dowling to finish. There was some doubt as to the legality of the goal, but referee Barry Kelly confirmed it after a brief consultation with his umpire.
Wexford scored the first two points after the break, but instantly conceded a fourth goal, allowing Browne to meander his way through from midfield to blast into Fanning’s net.
Limerick continued to manufacture points for the remainder of the half, although Wexford sub Shane Tomkins came up with a consolation goal in the 62nd minute.
Ultimately, it was an extremely deflating day for the Model County, summed up by a straight red card for captain Matthew O’Hanlon after a wild swing that connected with Dowling’s hand in the dying moments.
Limerick’s attention turns to Croke Park, and the watching Brian Cody will have been impressed by what he witnessed in Thurles.
Scorers for Limerick: Shane Dowling 2-8 (0-5f), Declan Hannon 0-4, David Breen 1-1, Paul Browne 1-1, Graeme Mulcahy, Thomas Ryan 0-3 each, Seanie Tobin, James Ryan 0-2 each, Wayne McNamara, Sean Tobin (0-1f) 0-1 each.
Scorers for Wexford: Jack Guiney (0-1f, 0-1 ’65), Diarmuid O’Keeffe 0-3 each, Shane Tomkins 1-0, Conor McDonald, Podge Doran 0-2 each, Paul Morris 0-1.
1. Mark Fanning (Glynn Barntown)
2. Liam Ryan (Rapparees)
3. Matthew O’Hanlon (c) (St. James’)
4. Keith Rossiter (Oulart the Ballagh)
5. Andrew Shore (Parnells, Dublin)
6. Eoin Moore (Oulart the Ballagh)
7. Ciaran Kenny (Buffers Alley)
8. David Redmond (Oulart the Ballagh)
9. Lee Chin (Faythe Harriers)
13. Jack Guiney (Rathnure)
11. Podge Doran (Oylegate/Glenbrien)
12. Diarmuid O’Keeffe (St. Anne’s)
10. Paul Morris (Ferns St. Aidan’s)
14. Conor McDonald (Naomh Eanna)
15. Liam Og McGovern (St. Anne’s)
1. Nicky Quaid (Effin)
4. Seamus Hickey (Murroe/Boher)
3. Richie McCarthy (Blackrock)
2. Tom Condon (Knockaderry)
7. Gavin O Mahony (Kilmallock)
6. Wayne McNamara (Adare)
5. Paudie O Brien (Vice Captain) (Kilmallock)
8. James Ryan (Garryspillane)
9. Paul Browne (Bruff)
22. Thomas Ryan (South Liberties)
10. Declan Hannon (Adare)
15. David Breen (Na Piarsaigh)
14. Kevin Downes (Na Piarsaigh)
12. Shane Dowling (Na Piarsaigh)
13. Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock)
Referee: Barry Kelly (Westmeath)