Limerick made it three wins from three in the Allianz National League with a superb 2-18 to 0-15 win over Kilkenny in their 1A clash at Nowlan Park this afternoon.
A blistering opening 8 minutes saw Brian Cody’s side take a 0-4 to 0-2 lead with Billy Ryan slotting the opening score. Dowling responded with a long range wind assisted points fro Limerick.
Richie Leahy nudged Kilkenny back in front before Aaron Gillane held off the attentions fo the Kilkenny full back line to level proceedings.
James Maher and Kevin Kelly (free) edged Kilkenny back into a two point lead. It was a frantic start with Kilkenny playing well into the wind while Limerick’s touch wasn’t what it could have been and players were having difficulty holding their footing.
A Gillane free made it a one point game but Gillane and Byrnes were off target with the subsequent two efforts from placed ball. Kyle Hayes made a burst and laid off the ball to Barry Murphy. The Doon man’s effort was wide when he should have at least forced a save out of Eoin Murphy.
Kilkenny’s John Donnelly pounced on a loose ball and pointed from the edge of the D to make a two point game. Aaron Gillane and a superb long range point from Tom Condon made it all square at five points apiece.
The home side were adapting a direct running style which was drawing fouls and causing Limerick some problems. A high challenge presented Kevin Kelly with an opportunity to retake the lead which he converted.
Gillane (free) and Conor Boylan with a well worked point edged Limerick into the lead for the first time but Richie Leahy levelled again from a free. Robbie Hanley edged the visitors back in front.
As the half drew to close, Brian Cody would have been the happier of the two managers but his mood would have been worsened by two Limerick goals in the space of a minute.
Paddy O’Loughlin lobbed a big ball in around the edge of the D, Mulcahy batted it down to Gillane who found Shane Dowling. Dowling fired a blistering shot past Murphy to raise a green flag.
From the next puck Tommy Walsh’s hand pass was picked off by Mulcahy who offloaded to Conor Boylan. Boylan made no mistake another goal and Kilkenny shellshocked. Diarmaid Byrnes (long range free) and Aaron Gillane added two more scores as Limerick took a 2-10 to 0-7 lead into the break.
Playing into the breeze, Limerick now changed to a slight more direct running style. It drew two frees in the opening minutes of the half, both of which were converted by Aaron Gillane.
Pure determination and work rate from Graeme Mulcahy turned over a Kilkenny defender. The Kilmallock man judged the breeze perfectly to point from the left wing. Gillane was causing serious problems for the Kilkenny full back line and drew another foul which he duly converted to make it 2-14 to 0-7.
Richie Leahy registered Kilkenny’s first score of the second half but that was cancelled out by another Mulcahy point. 2-15 to 0-8 and Limerick were in total control. Kilkenny were labouring to find a game plan while Limerick attacked in droves with purpose and precision.
Barry Murphy added another point as Limerick now established a whopping 14-point lead. Kilkenny were struggling and Riche Leahy stepped up to slot four frees reducing the gap to 10.
Limerick needed a sore to halt Kilkenny’s momentum and they got it through a Gillane free. Ger Malone, Liam Blanchfield and Billy Ryan fired over quick fire points for the home side making it Kilkenny 0-15 Limerick 2-17.
Dowling then restored the nine-point lead with Limerick’s first score in 14 minutes. Kilkenny needed goals and needed them quick but in truth Limerick showed no signs of coughing up any goal scoring opportunities. The game petered out with Limerick in control and fully deserving of their 9-point win.
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