Allianz NHL Division 1 – Dublin 6-30 Limerick 2-11

Dublin defeated Limerick by 6-30 to 2-11 in the Allianz National Hurling League Division 1 on Sunday at Parnell Park Dublin.

Limerick get six of the best from Dublin

By TOM HUMPHRIES at Parnell Park from the Irish Times newspaper

ALLIANZ NHL DIVISION ONE Dublin 6-30 Limerick 2-11: IT WOULD be easy to be pious after this car wreck of a match. It would be grand to cluck the tongue and say that this was a bad day for hurling. It would be easy and maybe it would be right. Yet, Dublin fans have sat through so many cold and bitter days in Parnell Park watching their hurlers toil against Westmeath, Laois and Antrim that any day in the top division that brings 6-30 against another county, any county, is reward for hard time previously done. And as for Limerick. Twice in this league campaign they have faced serious teams. Tipperary demanded a performance of themselves after they lost to Dublin.

Stung, they came away and beat Kilkenny and the next day out they had 21 points to spare on Limerick. Dublin needed a performance to survive in Division One yesterday. They prevailed by 31 points. If that makes any or all parties in the Limerick mess wake up to the nature of the ongoing folly it will have been a good day for hurling. The thought of this Limerick side going out into the heat of a Munster championship afternoon is slightly distressing. Brave and promising as they may be (depending on what side you are looking from) they don’t deserve to have their dignity stripped from them again. Neither does the hallowed Limerick jersey need to be seen trampled on the ground of another massacre – not with the competition for hearts and minds that the game faces in the county.

JP McManus, the game’s most influential supporter in Limerick was in Parnell Park yesterday (One venue where he could never be accused of being part of the prawn sandwich brigade, what with hot dogs and cuppa soup being the fare even at premium level.) and his thoughts on what he saw will perhaps play a part in determining what shape Limerick are in come the summer. Whatever happens, Limerick have a long way to travel Dublin, it has to be said, are in better shape. A lot of yesterday’s game was so facile that it is beyond analysis, yet Anthony Daly had reasons to be cheerful afterwards. Dublin have had their troubles delivering the best of themselves against teams which they have been fancied to beat and if this seasons prime examples so far were the losses to Waterford and Offaly, last season’s most distressing moments came in two games against Limerick.

It was pleasing then that Dublin never looked like losing this game. They were six points to two ahead as the clock slipped past the 10-minute mark and pulled away steadily from there on. The one crisis they faced was a goal from Paudie McNamara in the second half when the big forward appeared to mishit a 21-yard free in the 29th minute. Dublin came back with four goals in six minutes, a giant declaration of confidence and will from a side who had only scored three goals in the league to date. Those goals had a significance beyond the scoreboard.

Two of them fell to David “Dotsie” O’Callaghan, who until yesterday looked to be struggling with his confidence. Yesterday, he looked his best again. sandwiched between his goals were two of interest. One, from Shane Ryan, where the former footballer caught a fine diagonal ball from the born again Ronan Fallon, turned and finished beautifully to the net, caught the eye of those following this work in progress. The other, a nice goal from John Kelly at the end of a splendid move, suggested that Kelly may press claims for a place come the summer. Dublin added two more goals before the end. Liam Rushe, picked at centre forward, but operating at full forward, took the first, a fitting decoration for an afternoon filled with aggression and adventure.

Paul Ryan, the promising Ballyboden player, had the other (set up by Shane Ryan). Paul Ryan had a quiet enough afternoon for a man thought to be auditioning for bigger things, but what he did was done with certainty and a little panache. Limerick will look back and feel that if it wasn’t for bad luck they wouldn’t have had any luck at all. Several of their best moves produced fine saves from Gary Maguire in the Dublin goal. And in the second half after eight minutes they lost the services of James O’Brien after an off-the-ball incident. Paudie McNamara had a penalty turned away by Ronan Fallon on the Dublin line. To their credit having crumbled for that period when it rained goals for Dublin the Limerick lads regrouped and Graeme Mulcahy’s late goal, kicked to the net after a turbo charged solo run was a minor consolation, but underlined the promise shown by Mulcahy and Limerick’s other corner forward Richard McKeogh.

DUBLIN : G Maguire; N Corcoran, R Fallon, O Gough; S Hiney, J Boland (0-1) , M O’Brien; J McCaffrey (0-1) , S Durkin; P Ryan (1-2, 0-1 free), P Kelly (0-3), S Lambert (0-4); D O’Callaghan (2-3), L Rushe (1-5), A McCrabbe (0-10, eight frees). Subs : R Treanor for Gough (h-t), J Kelly (1-1) for P Kelly (47 mins), P Carton for P Ryan (47 mins), S Ryan (1-0) for McCaffrey (47 mins), D O’Dwyer for D O’Callaghan (55 mins).

LIMERICK : T Flynn; D Lynch, D Kenny, S O’Neill; L O’Dwyer, A Brennan, N Quaid; B O’Sullivan, S O’Riordan; P Browne, P McNamara (1-7, 1-4 frees), J O’Brien (0-1), G Mulcahy (1-1) , D Breen, R McKeogh (0-2). Subs : T O’Brien for Quaid (27 mins), S Herlihy for Browne (h-t), K O’Rourke for Lynch (53 mins), C Hayes for Kenny (53 mins), D Madden for Brennan (59 mins).

Referee: M Wadding (Waterford)