Pluck Of The Draw

The Waterford team line up for the National Anthem at the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday last.  									| Photos: Sean Byrne

The Waterford team line up for the National Anthem at the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday last. | Photos: Sean Byrne

National Hurling League Division 1B

Limerick 2-16
Waterford 0-22

Brian Flannery at the Gaelic Grounds.

An injury time point from substitute Paudie Prendergast earned Waterford a well merited draw and precious away League point against Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday evening last.

Attractions elsewhere kept the attendance to a meagre 2,500 for this Valentine’s night special. Those lucky enough to be present were rewarded with a pulsating 70 minutes of action that belied the fact that this was just the opening round of Division 1B action.

Waterford were in front for long stretches of this game but what will have impressed manager Derek McGrath most is the manner in which his side twice came from behind inside the final 10 minutes to earn a share of the spoils.

As expected (and now the norm) there were a number of positional switches before the throw in with Tom Devine moving to 14, Michael Walsh playing at 12, captain Kevin Moran moving to centre field.

Tadhg Bourke manned the pivotal centre-back position while Austin Gleeson was assigned sentry duty, tracking Limerick debutant Cian Lynch.

Limerick had two enforced changes, with Niall Moran and the gargantuan Patrick Begley starting instead of the injured Declan Hannon and David Breen.

Limerick struck inside the first minute when corner forward David Reidy sent a penalty to the net after Patrick Begley was impeded in the small square.

Déise team captain Kevin Moran replied immediately with a long rang point from centre field. After 13 minutes Waterford had reduced the deficit to a single point with Michael Walsh, Pauric Mahoney and Brian O’Halloran all on the scoresheet.

Waterford then hit a purple patch from the 14th to the 20th minute hitting five unanswered points from Jamie Barron (two), Mahony, Gleeson and O’Halloran to lead by 0-9 to 1-02.

Limerick’s Gavin O’Mahony hit three points from play and David Reidy added one from a free to complete the Treaty sides’ first half total of 1-7.

Mahoney had pointed four further frees and Lismore’s Paudie Prendergast had the final point of the half to leave the visitors deservedly leading 0-14 to 1-7 at the break.

Noel Connors finds himself sandwiched between Limerick's Cathal King and David Reidy.

Noel Connors finds himself sandwiched between Limerick's Cathal King and David Reidy.

The electric pace of the game continued unabated throughout the second half. In the 47th minute Limerick substitute Tom Morrissey was fouled close to goal and for a second time David Reidy had the rigging behind Stephen O’Keeffe shaking to level the game at 2-10 to 0-16.

Pauric Mahony continuing his excellent early season form pointing two further frees and substitute Shane Bennett registered his first score at senior inter-county level to put Waterford back in the ascendancy (by 0-19 to 2-10) after 53 minutes.

But Limerick, who put All-Ireland champions Kilkenny to the pin of their collar in last August’s semi-final, weren’t done with yet.

Roared on by the home crowd the hosts hit five points on the trot from David Reidy (two frees), Paul Browne (a brace) and man of the match Gavin O’Mahoney to lead by 2-15 to 0-19 after 61 minutes.

However, Austin Gleeson struck a fantastic point from distance and another Mahony free levelled that game for a fourth time with just two minutes to play.

A rabble rousing point from Limerick full-back Richie McCarthy in the 70th minute looked to have won the day, however there was time for one last play.

The yellow helmeted Paudie Prendergast became the unlikely hero when his second point of the day, deep in injury time, secured a hard earned draw after this pulsating opening round fixture.

Waterford’s goalkeeper and full-back line were outstanding throughout while Austin Gleeson, Tadhg Bourke and substitute Paudie Prendergast completed a formidable half-back line.

Both Jamie Barron and Kevin Moran contributed handsomely while Pauric Mahony and Brian O’Hallloran carried the greatest threat in attack.

Next up for Waterford? A meeting with Laois in Fraher Field on Saturday night next, which is scheduled for a 7pm throw-in.

Waterford's Michael Walsh steers clear of Limerick's Dan Morrissey.

Waterford's Michael Walsh steers clear of Limerick's Dan Morrissey.

Limerick: Nickie Quaid; Stephen Walsh, Richie McCarthy, Seamus Hickey; Donal O’Grady, Wayne McNamara, Tom Condon; Cathal King, Paul Browne; Niall Moran, Gavin O’Mahony, Cian Lynch; David Reidy, Patrick Begley, Adrian Breen.

Substitutes: Tom Morrissey for Niall Moran (27 mins), James Ryan for Cathal King (HT), Dan Morrissey for Patrick Begley (50), John Fitzgibbon for Donal O’Grady (64) and Seanie O’Brien for Tom Condon (66).

Scorers: David Reidy (2-3; 2-0 pens; 0-3f), Paul Browne (0-5), Gavin O’Mahoney (0-4), Wayne McNamara, Cian Lynch, Adrian Breen, Tom Condon and Richie McCarthy (0-1 each)

Waterford: Stephen O’Keeffe; Shane Fives, Barry Coughlan, Noel Connors; Austin Gleeson, Tadhg Bourke, Philip Mahony; Jamie Barron, Kevin Moran; Jake Dillon, Pauric Mahony, Michael Walsh; Brian O’Halloran, Tom Devine, Michael Kearney.

Substitutes: Paudie Prendergast for Philip Mahoney (22 mins), Shane Bennett for Mickey Kearney (41), Stephen Bennett for Jake Dillon (47), Martin O’Neill for Tom Devine (56) and Gavin O’Brien for Kevin Moran (68).

Scorers: Pauric Mahony (0-11; 0-9f), Brian O’Halloran, Jamie Barron, Austin Gleeson and Paudie Prendergast (0-2 each), Kevin Moran, Michael Walsh and Shane Bennnett (0-1 each).

Referee: Colm Lyons (Cork).

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