Limerick show a penchant for goals
Limerick were thwarted in their efforts to retain their Munster title last month in a game where Cork’s ability to plunder goals and Limerick’s failure to hit the net proved to be crucial factors.
That flaw in Limerick’s game was firmly corrected today and underpinned their destruction of Wexford.
David Breen bounded through for the first goal that set the tone, Shane Dowling bagged a brace that killed off Wexford before half-time and Paul Browne emphasised Limerick’s dominance by scything through for a fourth after a break. A fortnight ago TJ Ryan rued his team’s inability to raise a green flag, today he was immensely satisfied at the clinical edge they showed.
2. Wexford’s schedule takes its toll
They’ve been the most spellbinding story of the hurling summer but Wexford’s renaissance has been quelled before the action shifts to Croke Park for August and September. Their energy and spirit have been admirable features in recent weeks as they went toe to toe with Clare (twice) and Waterford.
But the verve and dash they displayed in those games was sadly absent today as they were convincingly beaten. Their hectic July schedule looked to have taken its toll as they couldn’t match a fresh Limerick side. Players like David Redmond, Paul Morris and Podge Doran – who starred in recent weeks – were all withdrawn and that illustrated how Wexford were below-par.
3. Declan Hannon back in form
Limerick’s attacking return today saw Shane Dowling again star in the scoring stakes while Graeme Mulcahy and David Breen produced impressive performances as well. But the most significant and encouraging individual display for them up front came from Declan Hannon.
The Adare club man is a superb talent but he was a peripheral figure in the Munster final and Limerick needed to get him more involved in influencing matches. Today he was on song from the start at centre-forward, arrowing over four points from play and helping orchestrate their offensive plays. They’ll need shining as they move forward.
4. Plenty for Wexford to be proud of in 2014
From early morning Liberty Square in Thurles began to fill with Wexford fans today and certainly the most prominent colours in Semple Stadium were of a purple and gold hue. Wexford brought huge support to Semple Stadium but they had little to cheer about as their team were thoroughly outplayed and fell 24 points short by the final whistle.
But 2014 has still been a year of substantial progress. They claimed championship victories of substance against Waterford and Clare. Their U21s clinched Leinster glory again and have an upcoming All-Ireland semi-final to look forward to. There is plenty for Wexford hurling to be proud of in the past year.
5. Limerick back motoring as they eye Kilkenny
The Munster final defeat has clearly not derailed Limerick’s season. The disappointment at that defeat abated considerably today as they blitzed Wexford. It was an impressive statement of intent by TJ Ryan’s side and further proof that they are developing a consistent streak.
Now they eye the challenge of Kilkenny. In 2012 they gave Kilkenny a searching examination in the first-half of their quarter-final tie in Thurles but slipped away in the second-half. Two years on they are back motoring and look a stronger proposition. Kilkenny is a big challenge but one they will embrace.