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Limerick players huddle prior to the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group A Round 3 match between Limerick and Waterford at LIT Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Limerick players huddle prior to the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group A Round 3 match between Limerick and Waterford at LIT Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

No let-up from lethal Limerick who are hurling like men on a mission

THUS far it’s been a Perfect 10 for the Limerick hurlers, 10 points from five league outings and safely berthed in the semi-final of the secondary competition.

As was the case 12 months ago, Limerick have treated the league very seriously and at this point in time seem to be well on their way to its retention.

Limerick are the team that are commanding most attention from a Cork viewpoint because they will be in the opposite corner on May 10 in Páirc Uí Chaoimh when the Munster championship gets underway.

And it goes without saying that the opening game is, by far, the most crucial.

As things currently stand, Limerick seem to be in a far better place than Cork, appearing to have a greater depth of resources and far more options throughout the field. Of course, it could be said that 12 months ago the situation was quite similar, Cork had failed again to make the knockout stages of the league and Limerick ended up winning it.

Yet, a short few months later Cork put them to the sword in the Gaelic Grounds after earlier defeating them at the group stage in the league.

This season, John Kiely’s team have lorded it over Cork in the Munster League final and then got the job done in their league encounter in Páirc.

Limerick manager John Kiely. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Limerick manager John Kiely. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

However, a team will not be defined by what happens in the Spring but Spring can be a springboard to Summer success.

There was a lot of focus on Limerick going into this league campaign because of some bad publicity over incidents during the off season.

But that seems to have only galvanised them all the more and in some of their games over the past few weeks they have been excellent.

Last Saturday night was a case in point against Waterford when they were superb at times during the course of the 70 minutes.

A number of players were in scintillating form, none more so than Gearoid Hegarty who returned 1-5 from play, the goal set up superbly by David Dempsey.

Graeme Mulcahy had a splendid game too, scoring a few great points.

They won by only four points in the end but they were clearly the better team by more than that.

One of their best scores came off the stick of Paddy O’Loughlin when he replaced Diarmuid Byrnes.

This fellow had a superb Fitzgibbon Cup for UCC and would be a starter in a lot of other inter-county teams.

They had the luxury too of being able to introduce All-star Sean Finn while another sub, Robbie Hanley delivered a great point.

Conor Boylan did not get on the scoresheet but showed some delightful touches, one in particular when he flicked the ball back to Hegarty who converted a sublime point.

Limerick’s movement on and off the ball was a joy to behold at times and they were fully tuned in as far as reaching the semi-final was concerned and having next weekend off.

Gearoid Hegarty of Limerick scores his side's first goal against Waterford. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Gearoid Hegarty of Limerick scores his side's first goal against Waterford. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Waterford had motored along fairly well before this game and with nine changes made to the team since the previous weekend, Liam Cahill won’t have been overly disappointed.

One of their subs, Jack Fagan looked very good when he was introduced and scored a cracking goal into the bargain.

He’s a former Meath player, joining Waterford from his club Rathmolyon and he could have a lot to offer on the evidence presented in the Gaelic Grounds Waterford, of course, were missing key players like Kevin Moran and Austin Gleeson and Pauric Mahony’s free-taking was poor at times.

In saying that, Adrian Gillane missed a few too for Limerick.

Spectators watch as Aaron Gillane of Limerick scores a point. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Spectators watch as Aaron Gillane of Limerick scores a point. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Waterford got to a league final last year but didn't win a game thereafter.

However, they seem to be in a better place this time, a more galvanised unit.

Their quarter-final next weekend against Kilkenny should reveal more.

Cork must travel to Walsh Park in the championship after Waterford open their championship campaign against Tipperary.

Both Limerick and Waterford have at least an extra game now while Clare have at least one as well when they play in the semi-final next Sunday week.

Those extra games might prove beneficial in their priority in having the required depth in the championship.

That’s the big priority, being able to cope with four major championship games in just five weeks.

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