Dunne says Wexford punished for mistakes during game against Limerick
PATIENCE paid off handsomely for Limerick as sub Seanie O'Brien struck over the winning point one minute into additional time.
Limerick 4-16 Wexford 3-18
The point came after they had turned the game around to gain two valuable points in their push for promotion over a battling Wexford outfit in this excellent Allianz Division 1B national hurling league game at Innovate Wexford Park yesterday afternoon.
There was never going to be a repeat of their last meeting when the Shannonsiders recorded a 23-points All-Ireland quarter-final championship victory as Wexford turned in a huge performance, particularly in the first half, at one stage leading 3-8 to 1-6, after twenty-five minutes despite playing into the stiff breeze.
Things had looked bleak for Limerick but they stuck to their game plan with a fortuitous Shane Dowling thirtieth minute goal from a forty meter free hauled them right back into the game, but it was their late flourish of scores as they availed of their chances following some slip-shod defending by the homeside that led to them snatching victory in the closing minutes.
The biggest problem for Limerick wax dealing with Wexford's direct approach as the homesides half-back line dominated the opening period. But Manager T.J Ryan was best pleased with how his players dealt with the challenge presented by Wexford.
'We're delighted with the way we ground it out. It was always likely to come down to the wire for Division 2 is a very tight division. At the same time when we went eight points down in the first half the lads battled back before half-time. It was similar in the second half going three points down after getting back level, before we eventually got the winning scores late on. These narrow wins are good for character. We had a huge effort and promotion is now possibly in our own hands.'
But for Wexford manager Liam Dunne it was a different story.
We chose to hand them the game. We had it won on several occasions but failed to put them away. We chose to clear three successive balls out to unmarked players eventually leading to their fourth goal. Make mistakes like this at this level and one will be punished. We will take many positives but we now must deliver big performances against Laois and Waterford. Promotion is now out of our hands.'
Limerick got off to the better start leading 0-3 to 0-1 after five minutes but a delightful Liam Og McGovern seventh minute goal that had the homeside in front, 1-1 to 0-3. After John Fitzgibbon marked his first competitive debut with a beautiful first time ground shot to the net giving his side a 1-4 to 1-2 lead, it was the homeside who responded with goals from Jack Guiney and McGovern, scores that helped them into a 3-8 to 1-6 lead after twenty-five minutes. Five minutes before the break Shane Dowling seemed to mishit a forty meter free but the ball eluded a packed goalmouth to beat an unsighted Mark Fanning in the home goal, which left Wexford leading 3-9 to 2-9 at the interval.
The ever reliable Jack Guiney stretched Wexford into a four point lead on forty-one minutes, but three minutes later, Declan Hannon pounced on a breaking ball close to goal to send a ground shot to the net, leaving the minimum separating the sides, 3-10 to 3-9.
The goal put Limerick right back into the hunt. With Ian Byrne, Guiney and sub Podge Doran picking off excellent points, Wexford stretched into a 3-16 to 3-13 lead, but Limerick remained patient and a David Breen goal four minutes from the end had the sides level once again, 4-14 to 3-17. A Guiney pointed free had Wexford back in front, but Dowling remained accurate with a levelling pointed free before O'Brien shot over an excellent winning point as the game moved into additional time.
Wexford: M Fanning; L Ryan, T Waters, E Moore; P Foley, M O'Hanlon, L Chin; D Redmond (0-2), D O'Keeffe (0-1); H Kehoe (0-1), D Waters, I Byrne (0-2); P Morris (0-3), J Guiney (1-6, 0-6 frees), L Og McGovern (2-1). Subs: C McDonald for Morris (46); P Doran (0-2) for Byrne (54).
Limerick: N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy, S Hickey; C Allis, W McNamara (0-1), D Morrissey; J Ryan, P Browne; J Fitzgibbon (1-2), D O'Grady, D Hannon (1-3); D Reidy (0-1), S Dowling (1-6, 0-5 frees, 0-1, 65), D Breen (1-1). Subs: C Lynch for Reidy (43); S Tobin (0-1) for O'Grady (51); S O'Brien (0-1) for Browne.
Referee: J Ryan (Tipperary).