Limerick young guns fire in huge league win over Antrim:

By John Keogh Limerick Leader Adare

LIMERICK got off to a winning start in the Allianz Hurling League after seeing off Antrim on a 1-36 to 1-9 win over Antrim in Thurles this Sunday afternoon.

The full forward line of Shane O’Brien, Adam English and Donnacha Ó Dálaigh contributed 1-22 of Limerick’s scoreline in the emphatic victory.

It was Antrim that made the early running with two Conal Cunning frees and a well-taken point from Arron Bradley helping them to 0-3 to 0-1 advantage after six minutes. David Reidy was on the mark for Limerick.

Limerick were soon back on level terms though with Shane O’Brien and Adam English hitting the target. The latter after an excellent move involving Diarmaid Byrnes, Donnacha Ó Dálaigh and Cathal O’Neill.

The same duo got the next two Limerick points with Niall O’Connor responding for the Saffrons to leave Limerick one ahead at the 12 minute mark.

English and Cunning traded frees before Fred McCurry fired in a goal for Antrim after some excellent work by Rian McMullin that put them ahead by 1-5 to 0-6.

The game was soon level once more with two Ó Dálaigh efforts and one from English cancelling out O’Connor’s second point of the opening stanza.

Limerick began to take control then with the imperious English very much to the fore. He continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over as John Kiely’s men hit eight of the last nine scores of the half.

Two in a row from the Doon man and one from Ó Dálaigh put Limerick three to the good and then English raised three white flags on the bounced to stretch Limerick’s lead to six after 33 minutes.

Cathal O’Neill then fired over a magnificent score for Limerick and Antrim then stopped the scoring free with Cunning landing a third free that saw the score at 0-16 to 1-7 in Limerick’s favour at the break.

Limerick didn’t let up at the beginning of the second half with O’Brien scoring a goal in the opening minute. Gearóid Hegarty blocked down a Tiernan Smyth goal and O’Brien collected the loose ball before hitting the net.

Points from English, Hegarty and half time substitute Micheál Houlihan stretching Limerick’s advantage 12 points. Hegarty then added a second as Limerick took total control.

Two from O’Brien and one each from Hegarty and Mark Quinlan, a fine effort from distance, saw Limerick go 1-24 to 1-7 in front with 47 minutes played.

Ó Dálaigh then landed his fourth of an impressive afternoon before Rian McMullin landed Antrim’s first of the half with a free from 40 metres.

A Reidy free and strikes from play by Houlihan and O’Neill then put Limerick 20 points to the good with the game heading into the final quarter.

That dominance continued with Ó Dálaigh, O’Brien and then Ó Dálaigh once more with excellent points as Limerick cruised to an emphatic victory.

Limerick gave debuts to Ethan Hurley and Joe Fitzgerald at half time with Paddy O’Donovan and Emmet McEvoy also coming on for their first taste of league action.

Graeme Mulcahy also came off the bench for his first appearance of the year and landed two points in the 1-36 to 1-9 victory in Thurles.

SCORERS – LIMERICK: Adam English 0-10 (0-5 frees), Shane O’Brien 1-5, Donnacha Ó Dálaigh 0-7, Gearóid Hegarty and Cathal O’Neill 0-3 each, David Reidy (0-1 free), Micheál Houlihan and Graeme Mulcahy 0-2 each, Mark Quinlan and Paddy O’Donovan (0-1 free) 0-1 each.

SCORERS – ANTRIM: Conal Cunning 0-4 (0-4 frees), Fred McCurry 1-0, Niall O’Connor 0-2, Arron Bradley, Rian McMullen (0-1 free) and Scott Walsh 0-1 each.

LIMERICK: Jamie Power; Fergal O’Connor, Dan Morrissey, Aaron Costello; Diarmaid Byrnes, David Reidy, Mark Quinlan; Barry Murphy, Colin Coughlan; Gearóid Hegarty, Cathal O’Neill, Conor Boylan; Donnacha Ó Dálaigh, Shane O’Brien, Adam English.

SUBS: Micheál Houlihan for Boylan (h-t), Ethan Hurley for Byrnes (45 mins), Joe Fitzgerald for Murphy (45 mins), Graeme Mulcahy for English (51 mins), Paddy O’Donovan for Hegarty (61 mins, temp), Emmet McEvoy for O’Connor (63 mins).

ANTRIM: Tiernan Smyth; Phelim Duffin, Rory McCloskey, Paddy Burke; Scott Walsh, Ryan McGarry, Conor Boyd; Stephen Rooney, Niall O’Connor; Rian McMullan, Aodhan O’Brien, Conor McCann; Conal Cunning, Arron Bradley Fred McCurry.

SUBS: Eoin Trainor for Rooney (48 mins), Christy McGarry for McCann (52 mins), Joseph McLaughlin for Bradley (52 mins), Ronan McAteer for O’Brien (64 mins), Niall McGarrel for McMullen (68 mins).

REFEREE: Thomas Walsh (Waterford).