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Limerick put to the test by Westmeath before advancing to knockout stages

Four wins out of four for the defending champions.

Limerick 1-24
Westmeath 0-18

Daragh Small reports from the LIT Gaelic Grounds

DAVID DEMPSEY SCORED the game’s only goal as reigning champions Limerick made it four wins from four in Division 1A of the Allianz Hurling League with this victory over a courageous Westmeath.

The LIT Gaelic Grounds survived Storm Jorge’s wrath but it meant for damp conditions and a heavy pitch. Nevertheless, Limerick moved into the knockout stages.

robbie-greville-and-liam-varleyn-with-brian-ryan Westmeath's Robbie Greville and Liam Varley, with Brian Ryan of Limerick. Source: Keith Wiseman/INPHO

Limerick were looking to build the momentum ahead of a potential semi-final, and their nine-point half-time lead left Westmeath in the doldrums.

The away team were planning for a relegation clash with Carlow and they fought back valiantly, with Limerick midfielder Darragh O’Donovan sent off. Limerick were brought to the brink but they came good at last and Dempsey eased any worries of an upset.

Limerick held a 0-15 to 0-6 lead at the interval after they killed the game off early with the wind and rain at their backs. The force of the elements eased eventually, as did Limerick’s drive to put Westmeath out of sight, and Derek McNicholas’ brilliant skills from the deal ball kept the underdogs alive.

On the back of a hammering at the hands of Tipperary, this looked bleak for Westmeath when they fell into a 0-9 to 0-0 deficit after the first half-hour.

The visitors wouldn’t score until the 18th minute, while the 2018 All-Ireland champions were rampant. Darragh O’Donovan was the only player to shoot wide for Limerick in the opening 10 minutes.

David Reidy scored a free after 45 seconds to set the tone and Tom Morrissey raided down the left wing to flash over two points from an identical position for a 0-3 to 0-0 advantage.

Seamus Flanagan’s diagonal runs were causing havoc for the Westmeath defence and he scored a couple of points, with Barry Nash also adding his name to the scoresheet.

david-reidy-challenged-by-aonghus-clarke Limerick's David Reidy is challenged by Aonghus Clarke of Westmeath. Source: Keith Wiseman/INPHO

Limerick were easing up already, although Reidy got his third and fourth scores for a nine-point lead. Jack Galvin’s stunning point from wide on the right was worth the wait when it came, but Westmeath needed goals. Instead, Flanagan and Reidy scored to leave Limerick in a comfortable 0-11 to 0-1 lead after 20 minutes.

Westmeath scored three of the next four points, with Reidy’s sixth cancelled out by McNicholas points from a free and sideline, and a further point from Shane Clavin.

Shane O’Brien’s side had finally established a foothold but they could only manage two more points from McNicholas before half-time. Reidy (two) and Brian Ryan scored to give Limerick a healthy nine-point cushion at the break.

Darragh Clinton and Tom Morrissey traded points on the restart, but two frees from McNicholas kept things interesting. Flanagan could have made it more comfortable for Limerick, but he blasted a shot off the crossbar in the 46th minute and a couple of scores later Westmeath were within five points.

O’Donovan was sent off for an off-the-ball incident but timely scores from Ryan and Flanagan settled Limerick. Then Westmeath reeled off three points in succession, with substitute Josh Coll scoring twice. His second left it at 0-20 to 0-16 with 12 minutes remaining.

However, points from O’Connell and Nash sealed the win for Limerick before Dempsey found the net in the 69th minute.

Scorers for Limerick: David Reidy 0-8 (0-7f), Tom Morrissey 0-7 (0-4f), Seamus Flanagan 0-4, David Dempsey 1-0, Brian Ryan 0-2, Barry Nash 0-2, Darren O’Connell 0-1.

Scorers for Westmeath: Derek McNicholas 0-10 (0-8f, 0-2sl), Darragh Clinton 0-3, Jack Galvin 0-2, Josh Coll 0-2, Shane Clavin 0-1.

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1. Barry Hennessy (Kilmallock)

2. Sean Finn (Bruff)
3. Mike Casey (Na Piarsaigh)
4. Aaron Costello (Kilmallock)

5. Barry Nash (South Liberties)
6. Declan Hannon (Adare — captain)
7. Dan Morrissey (Ahane)

19. Josh Considine (Patrickswell)
9. Darragh O’Donovan (Doon)

10. David Reidy (Dromin-Athlacca)
11. Tom Morrissey (Ahane)
12. Brian Ryan (South Liberties)

13. Darren O’Connell (Kildimo/Pallaskenry)
14. Seamus Flanagan (Feohanagh-Castlemahon)
15. Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock)


21. David Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh) for Reidy (HT)
23. Kyle Hayes (Kildimo/Pallaskenry) for Mulcahy (HT)
25. Brian O’Grady (Kilteely-Dromkeen) for Finn (42)
26. Paddy O’Loughlin (Kilmallock) for Hannon (52)
22. Robbie Hanley (Kilmallock) for Considine (63)


16. Aaron McHugh (Raharney)

18. Adam Ennis (Delvin)
3. Tommy Doyle (Lough Lene Gaels)
4. Conor Shaw (Brownstown)

2. Darragh Egerton (Clonkill)
6. Aonghus Clarke (Castletown Geoghegan)
7. Liam Varley (Castletown Geoghegan)

8. Shane Clavin (Castletown Geoghegan)
9. Alan Cox (Delvin)

10. Cormac Boyle (Raharney)
11. Derek McNicholas (Lough Lene Gaels)
12. Robbie Greville (Raharney)

13. Joey Boyle (Raharney)
14. Niall Mitchell (Clonkill)
15. Jack Galvin (Cullion)


17. Darragh Clinton (Delvin) for Ennis (27)
21. Shane McGovern (Crookedwood) for Cox (34)
24. Josh Coll (Delvin) for J Boyle (HT)
27. John Gilligan (Fr Dalton’s) for Varley (45)
23. Brendan Doyle (Lough Lene Gaels) for Egerton (65)

Referee: Shane Hynes (Galway).

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About the author:

Daragh Small

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