Limerick claimed a deserved 1-22 to 2-13 victory over Wexford in phase two of the Senior Hurling Championship qualifiers. An early second half goal from Sean Tobin was the decisive moment of the match, as it allowed Limerick to open up a clear lead.
The teams started tentatively, which lead to some poor play. Limerick were the slightly better outfit, but after 22 minutes, the sides were tied on four points apiece. Points from Kevin Downes, Donal O’Grady and two from Declan Hannon, however, allowed Limerick to amass a four point lead.
Wexford responded well, however, and Eoin Quigley scored a scrappy goal on the half hour to make it a one point game. Niall Moran immediately added two points for Limerick, but Rory Jacob scored a point for Wexford. Each side added another point as Limerick entered the break with a slender 0-11 to 1-6 lead.
Kevin Downes had a late first half goal chance for Limerick, but the forward dropped his hurley and kicked the sliotar just wide.
Limerick blew Wexford away just after half time. A Darren Stamp mistake allowed Sean Tobin to score a goal within 20 seconds of the restart. Wexford immediately reduced the deficit to four points, but Declan Hannon’s 39th minute point was one of three quick fire scores that made it a seven point game.
Rory Jacob and Paul Roche scored points to keep Wexford in the game, while Nicky Quaid saved a Rory Jacob shot to deny Wexford a game-changing goal.
Four unanswered points, two points apiece from Graeme Mulcahy and Declan Hannon, gave Limerick an intimidating nine point lead with 16 minutes to play.
Wexford reduced the deficit to eight points, but their faint hopes died when Paul Roche was sent off in the 61st minute. The Wexford man struck Graeme Mulcahy, who was substituted minutes later.
The rest of the game was a mere exhibition match for Limerick. Declan Hannon added two more points and Tommy O’Brien scored a great point to leave Limerick with an impressive 1-22 score line.
Wexford added a bit of respectability with a late Rory Jacob goal. It was just desserts for Jacob, who played well and was a constant threat.
Limerick will now play Cork or Antrim in phase three of the qualifiers and Donal O’Grady’s men will be quietly confident of qualifying for the All Ireland quarter finals.
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