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Allianz NHL Division 1 – Kilkenny 2-17 Limerick 0-16
Kilkenny defeated Limerick by 2-17 to 0-16 in Round 6 of the Allianz GAA Hurling National League Division 1 on Sunday in the Gaelic Grounds Limerick.
Cats cruise as Limerick teeter on the brink
Limerick 0-16 Kilkenny 2-17
By Fintan O’Toole
Monday, April 05, 2010
THEY travel to Parnell Park in two weeks still bearing thoughts of survival in NHL Division 1, but after another emphatic defeat in the Gaelic Grounds yesterday, Limerick remain on course to drop to second tier hurling next spring. As has been the trait all season, Limerick were feisty and competitive against Kilkenny, with their persistent efforts in the second half ensuring this match never unfolded into a landslide victory for Brian Cody’s men.
The margin at the final whistle corresponded to the difference between the teams in the All-Ireland decider three years ago, yet the fact that only seven points separated the teams can be largely attributed to the fact that Kilkenny notably lowered the intensity of their performance in the second half. Essentially this match was wrapped up at half-time, with Kilkenny leading 2-12 to 0-7. Limerick ploughed on unbowed after the break but that persistence could not mask what a drab and lifeless encounter this was.
Despite the result, McCarthy remained upbeat at the prospect of facing Dublin in a winner-takes-all clash in a fortnight. “It’s hard to win a game in Parnell Park but we’ll give it a go. We’re making progress and we’ll keep at it. It is going to be good for us and the lads realise that. We’ll have a few lads back from injuries as well, so that’ll help. “We were up against Kilkenny, four-time champions, and going for a fifth in-a-row, so there’s no doubt lads will test themselves. But it’s all a learning process. This team is for the future basically. The main thing is with any team at half-time is not to lose heart, number one, not to lose concentration for it again. “We wanted them to keep going for the ball, take risks and take chances. It’s about confidence too when you’re playing a game of hurling at a high tempo and high pace. There’s a bit of life in the team too though and that’s great.”
It’s a curious situation Kilkenny find themselves entering the closing phase of the league, stuck in mid-table and out of the reckoning for final qualification on May Bank Holiday weekend. Still, Brian Cody has seen enough defeats this spring to be glad of the two points here. “We lost three matches ourselves so we just wanted to get back to win a game. We wanted to get back playing as we can play and also very importantly to win the match. That’s what we achieved. Obviously Limerick were short players but the ones that were out there were very decent hurlers. There’s a good spirit there.”
The primary source of optimism for Cody heading back to Noreside was that his full-back Noel Hickey emerged unscathed from 70 minutes of action. Hickey was back on the field after a ruinous streak of injuries and enjoyed a competitive battle with Limerick target man Paudie McNamara. McNamara’s laser accuracy from placed balls was one of the plus points for Limerick, who also welcomed Scottish-based student David Breen back into their ranks for the first time this year. Breen’s return was offset though by the loss of Nicky Quaid through injury, whose relentless energy drove Limerick on in the first half.
Kilkenny had an impressive freetaker of their own with TJ Reid competently assuming the role of the Ballyhale sharpshooter with nine first-half points. Reid’s excellent striking along with Aidan Fogarty’s lightning whip to the net in the second minute and Eoin Larkin’s wonderful individual goal in the 33rd minute, propelled Kilkenny into that sizeable interval advantage. McNamara’s pointscoring spree clawed back some of that lead for Limerick in the second half but with John Mulhall maintaining his consistent league form, and Jackie Tyrell and John Tennyson sound in defence, Kilkenny were never going to be overhauled. Limerick’s woes were compounded late on when centre-back Andrew Brennan was sent off for a second yellow card.
Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid 0-9 (0-6f, 0-1 sideline), A Fogarty, E Larkin 1-1 each, J Mulhall 0-3, M Comerford 0-2, D Lyng 0-1.
Limerick scorers: P McNamara 0-11 (0-8f, 0-2 ‘65), R McKeogh 0-2, B O’Sullivan, G Mulcahy, S Herlihy 0-1 each.
Kilkenny subs: P Hogan for Walsh (half-time), S Cummins for Tennyson (60), R Hogan for A Fogarty (60).
Limerick subs: D Breen for Quaid (inj) (half-time), Tommy O’Brien for Herlihy (50), Thomas O’Brien for Mullane (52)
Referee: Alan Kelly (Galway).