Jackie Cahill reports from the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick
SHANE DOOLEY’S HAUL of 2-11 proved in vain as 14-man Limerick saw off the challenge of Offaly at the Gaelic Grounds this evening.
The hosts lost John Fitzgibbon to a red card approaching half-time and were rocked by the concession of two goals in a minute in the second half but still held out for a four-point win.
Limerick’s victory keeps their slim promotion hopes alive but Offaly slumped to a third successive defeat.
On an evening when Limerick had scoring contributions from eleven different players, Ronan Lynch led the way with eleven points, ten from frees.
Offaly have made a habit of making life difficult for Limerick in recent seasons and so it was again.
They bagged two goals in a minute during the second half – Dooley and Oisín Kelly on target – but Limerick hit seven of the remaining nine points on offer.
Offaly had the numerical advantage from the 33rd minute but they couldn’t make it count.
Fitzgibbon’s dismissal – for a wild overhead pull on Conor Doughan – had Limerick on the back foot approaching the break.
Having played against the breeze in the opening half, Limerick trailed by 0-14 to 1-13 at the break, despite hitting the first six points of the game.
Offaly responded with four Dooley frees to settle and they were level at 1-9 to 0-12 when the Tullamore hitman netted in the 27th minute.
Dooley saw his initial 20m free blocked but after Limerick failed to clear and the ball was recycled across the face of goal, the prolific forward found the net from close range.
Doughan’s point handed Offaly the lead for the first time, before Dooley and Cillian Kiely added further points.
Another Dooley free stretched Offaly’s lead to four but Limerick remained in touch with points from their leading scorer Ronan Lynch (free) and Gearoid Hegarty in first half stoppage time.
Andrew La Touche Cosgrave netted early in the second half to provide Limerick with a tonic but they had to recover from the concession of goals to Dooley and Kelly in the 50th and 51st minutes before sealing a merited win.
Scorers for Limerick: Ronan Lynch 0-11 (10f), Andrew La Touche Cosgrave 1-1, Gearoid Hegarty 0-3, Pat Ryan & James Ryan 0-2 each, Diarmaid Byrnes, John Fitzgibbon, David Dempsey, Sean Tobin, Darragh O’Donovan & Graeme Mulcahy 0-1 each.
Scorers for Offaly: Shane Dooley 2-11 (0-8f, 0-1 sl), Oisín Kelly 1-0, Conor Doughan 0-2, Cillian Kiely & Emmett Nolan 0-1 each.
1. David McCarthy (Glenroe)
2. Sean Finn (Bruff)
3. Richie McCarthy (Blackrock)
4. Mike Casey (Na Piarsaigh)
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5. Seamus Hickey (Murroe-Boher)
6. Diarmaid Byrnes (Patrickswell)
7. Declan Hannon (Adare)
8. Pat Ryan (Doon)
9. John Fitzgibbon (Adare)
10. Gearoid Hegarty (St Patricks)
11. David Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh)
12. James Ryan (Garryspillane)
13. Andrew La Touche Cosgrave (Monaleen)
14. Ronan Lynch (Na Piarsaigh)
15. Sean Tobin (Murroe-Boher)
21. Darragh O’Donovan (Doon) for P Ryan (55)
24. Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock) for Tobin (57)
17. Stephen Cahill (Tournafulla) for Finn (61)
25. Alan Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh) for La Touche Cosgrave (64)
1. James Dempsey (Kinnitty)
4. Michael Cleary (Shinrone)
7. Paddy Delaney (Kinnitty)
5. Paddy Rigney (Kinnitty)
8. Sean Ryan (Birr)
6. Dermot Short (St Rynagh’s)
2. Ben Conneely (St Rynagh’s)
10. Padraig Guinan (Drumcullen)
3. Conor Doughan (Shinrone)
15. Sean Cleary (Shinrone)
14. Shane Dooley (Tullamore)
11. Oisín Kelly (Belmont)
13. Emmett Nolan (Birr)
9. Cillian Kiely (Kilcormac/Killoughey)
12. Peter Geraghty (Kilcormac/Killoughey)
17. Derek Morkan (Shinrone) for Guinan (h.t.)
25. Adrian Cleary (Shinrone) for Geraghty (49)
24. James Mulrooney (Seir Kieran) for Kiely (49)
22. Liam Langton (Clodiagh Gaels) for Nolan (61)
26. Stephen Quirke (St Rynagh’s) for S Cleary (67)
Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)
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