Smart start makes it two from two for Lee’s Limerick
Billy Lee’s men were just that bit sharper in attack and their excellent start in tricky conditions was the foundation for their victory.

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SAT, 05 FEB, 2022 – 18:08
Allianz FL Division 3: Antrim 0-11 Limerick 2-9

LIMERICK made it two wins from two in Division 3 of the Allianz Football League as two early goals helped them victory over Antrim at Corrigan Park on Saturday.

Billy Lee’s men were just that bit sharper in attack and their excellent start in tricky conditions was the foundation for their victory.

Antrim did mount a challenge in the second period and got to within two, but there was a sense they needed a goal that didn’t look forthcoming.

“I’m around long enough to know it was a fantastic start,” said a happy Limerick manager after.

“It wasn’t the set plays that were doing that, but just playing on the front foot as best we could.

“Antrim have hit us hard at the start of the second half in the last three games we’ve played so we had to be ready for that.

“It’s fantastic (getting the good start), but you still have to go and play. A young team wouldn’t have the maturity to realise that, but we’re getting older and wiser now.”

It took just two minutes for the visitors to find the net as Peter Nash burst up along the left and squared for Cian Sheehan to palm home.

After Adrain Enright added a point after a patient build-up, the Treatymen bagged their second goal on 10 minutes. This time, Hugh Bourke showed quick thinking after taking a mark to spot Peter Nash in space inside and the wing-forward was only too happy to gather and steer past Oisin Kerr.

The swirling wind was more of an assistance to Limerick who looked sharper in attack as Antrim struggled to penetrate the visitors at the other end. Limerick were 2-4 to 0-2 ahead with Enright, Josh Ryanand James Naughton pointing before Antrim had their first from play through Jamie Gribbin and another from Ricky Johnston.

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Bourke would point for Limerick, while at the other end, Donal O’Sullivan made a stunning save from Paddy McAleer out for a 45 that was converted by Ruairi McCann to leave the visitors 2-5 to 0-5 up at the half.

Antrim began the second period much brighter with Ryan Murray kicking two fine points for play and he added another brace from frees as the gap was whittled down to two.

Limerick were on the back foot and it took them until the 62nd minute to add to their tally with Josh Ryan kicking a free.

This broke Antrim momentum with Peter Nash scoring on the turn to leave Antrim seeking a goal to reignite their charge, but they could not penetrate the Limerick defence and had to be content with pointed frees from Murray and Ruairi McCann in the closing stages, either side of points for Nash and Killian Ryan for Limerick who ran out deserved winners.

“It’s just really disappointing – the start was shocking,” admitted Antrim manager, Enda McGinley.

“In those conditions it was always going to be a fairly low-scoring game, so giving them a pretty cheap seven-point head start was very difficult.

“Limerick are a strong team. I saw them against Longford and I think they’ll do very well in the division and in the conditions, they really got at us and we struggled.”

Scorers for Antrim: Ryan Murray (0-5, 3 frees); Ruairi McCann (0-2 45, f); O Eastwood (mark), T McCann (free), J Gribbin, R Johnston (0-1 each)

Limerick: P Nash (1-2); C Sheehan (1-0); A Enright, J Ryan (0-2, 45, free), H Bourke, J Naughton, K Ryan (0-1 each)

ANTRIM: Oisin Kerr; Eoghan McCabe, Ricky Johnston, James McAuley; Peter Healy, James Laverty, Dermott McAleese; Michael McCann, Kevin Small; Ryan Murray, Jamie Gribbin, Paddy McAleer; Tomás McCann, Ruairi McCann, Odhran Eastwood.

Subs: Marc Jordan for P Healy (48), Conor Murray for D McAleese (56), Paddy McBride for O Eastwood (59), Seamus McGarry for T McCann (66), Patrick McCormick for P McAleer (66)

LIMERICK: Donal Ó Sullivan; Jim Liston , Sean O’Dea, Paul Maher; Cian Sheehan, Iain Corbett, Colm McSweeney; Darragh Treacy, Adrian Enright; Tommy Griffin , Josh Ryan, Peter Nash; Brian Donovan, Hugh Bourke, James Naughton.

Subs: Killian Ryan Mungret for T Griffin (48), Gordon Brown for C McSweeney (48), Tony McCarthy for C Sheehan (52), Eoin Cregan for P Maher (53), Diarmuid Kelly for J Naughton (70+3)

REFEREE: Paul Faloon (Armagh)