Limerick Survive Late Déise Scare
Jordan Norris Reports
On a crisp misty night at Fraher Field, Adrian Enright’s goal proved the difference, as Limerick held off the spirited challenge of Waterford in their Allianz National Football League Division 4 opener.The result means Waterford have now lost their league opener for three years on the spin, but it was Benji Whelan’s charges, featuring five debutants, who started the brighter.
Seamie O’Carroll, who was a livewire for the away side, pointed the opener. However, this was met with a strong response, as the Déise hit four in succession. Clashmore man Brian Lynch grabbed a sweet score to open the account, before a Jason Curry free saw Waterford take the lead. Darragh Corcoran then pointed an impressive effort, before captain Conor Murray increased the margin with the outside of his right boot.
The wind was knocked out of Déise sails soon after, as Limerick began to attack in numbers upon retaining possession, overloading on the ball side, which saw them get in behind the defence on numerous occasions.
Debutant goalkeeper Paudie Hunt made an excellent stop to deny Danny Neville what looked a certain goal, before Brian Looby managed to avert the danger.
Just moments later, it was that man Neville who carved the opening, squaring to Enright who tapped in from close range and level proceedings with the Treaty men’s first score for near fifteen minutes.
As the first half pushed on, Limerick grew into the game, the McGrath Cup champions forced the home side to be patient on the ball and displayed much more intent.
Referee James Bermingham found himself in the thick of the action, often reaching for his pocket in what threatened to become an ill-tempered affair. Another skilful burst from Murray restored Waterford’s advantage, but two well-taken frees from ‘keeper Donal O’Sullivan put the visitors out in front, before Curry’s placed ball saw the sides head to the dressing rooms with nothing to separate them.
Billy Lee must’ve said something of note to the Shannonsider’s at the interval, as they improved vastly in the second half to take the points.
This was largely due to the contributions of Danny Neville, and Iain Corbett, who were excellent in driving their county forward.
Tommy Griffin, Adrian Enright, and Neville laid down an early marker either side of a Jason Curry response, before Neville grabbed the score of the tie after being sent in acres from a wonderful ball by Corbett along the ground. Cillian Fahy then popped up, as Limerick grabbed a four-point advantage.
Conor Murray swung over another impressive effort, with Curry also doing his best from the dead ball. Again, this was responded to in clinical fashion, the industrious Josh Ryan making his mark. Sweat began to pour from the Limerick contingent when corner-back Paul Maher received his marching orders for a second yellow, as there was still fifteen minutes remaining. The Déise blooded substitutes, the likes of Donal Fitzgerald and Ferghal O’Cuirrin entering the fray in an attempt to bolster their attacking elements.
A ‘45 from Jason Curry reduced the gap to two, and the home side threw the kitchen sink at the visitors but to no avail, the final score of the game proving quite fitting – as Limerick broke on the counter, with Ballysteen man Neville adding the insurance score to his man-of-the-match performance, the Shannonsider’s finishing with thirteen men following the late dismissal of Robert Childs, but holding on for a 1-10 to 0-10 victory.
Next up for Waterford is a challenging assignment away to Wicklow, whilst Limerick further strengthen their credentials as favourites for promotion from the division.