Saturday 3rd February 2024
John Redington at Páirc Esler, Newry
03 Feb 2024 10:25 Pm
“WE had a very good start, great control of the ball and then we lost it. They then scored 19 times out of 21 efforts," was manager Jimmy Lee's reaction after Limerick's Division Three clash with Down ended with the second defeat of their Allianz Football League campaign, this time a 3-16 to 0-9 reverse at Newry's Páirc Esler on Saturday evening.
Despite leading by three points early on and unlucky not to grab the game's opening goal, Limerick's composure was battered when the outstanding Odhran Murdock exploded into action and two penalties either side of a blistering goal from play had the result done and dusted well before the break.
Limerick tried to recover after the restart but, despite dominating possession in the opening spell, their movement lacked the pace and slickness of their opponents who eased up though the gears again coming up to three-quarter mark.
The result leaves Limerick facing a home clash with Sligo in a fortnight's time with their survival in the third tier depending heavily on getting their first win of the season.
Limerick started off on fire with Iain Corbett getting them off the mark followed by points courtesy of Peter Nash, from a free and from play, and the Shannonsiders could have been further ahead had Corbett not shot inches wide after rounding two challenges.
But that was as good as it got for Limerick as Down ignited their midfield and, although Liam Kerr's goal following Rory Mason's scything run was pulled back for a square ball, it was immediately followed by a penalty which Murdock rifled low into the corner of the net.
Quickfire points from Murdock and Peter Fegan shot Down ahead and, despite Nash pulling back a free, Sheelan Johnston's reply on the quarter mark was followed by Daniel Guinness coming up from deep to slot home off Oisín Savage's pass for the Mournemen's second goal.
After Murdock's point, Limerick's Colum McSweeney was blackcarded for a foul on Savage. Murdock then converted his second penalty, Savage and Guinness pointed, while Kerr sent over a free for the home side which Nash cancelled out in injury time to narrow Limerick's deficit to 3-8 to 0-5 at the break.
Although the visitors attacked from the restart, they had only a Nash free to show for their efforts, before Down found their groove again with Pat Havern's free, while Kerr pointed.
Further points from another Havern free and Johnston followed before Shane Costello's reply for Limerick. Play lost shape as the subs trooped on. A Havern pointed free was met by one from Nash for Limerick. The same player replied with another Limerick point to another Havern score. Cillian Fahy and Havern then traded points before full-time to end the scoring.
SCORERS: DOWN: Odhran Murdock 2-3 (2-0 penalties), Pat Havern 0-5 (5 frees), Daniel Guinness 1-1, Liam Kerr 0-3 (1 free), Shealan Johnston 0-2, Peter Fegan, Oisín Savage 0-1 each; LIMERICK: Peter Nash 0-6 (4 frees), Iain Corbett, Shane Costello, Cillian Fahy 0-1 each.
DOWN: John O'Hare; Peter Fegan, Ryan McEvoy, Johnny Flynn; Pierce Laverty, Daniel Guinness, Conor Francis; Odhran Murdock, Niall McParland; Rory Mason, Liam Kerr, Shealan Johnston; Caolan Mooney, Pat Havern, Oisín Savage. SUBS: Shane Annett for Caolan Mooney (half-time), Anthony Doherty for Niall McParland (44 minutes), Andrew Gilmore for Oisín Savage (44 minutes), Kevin Anderson for John O'Hare (56 minutes), Ceilin Doherty for Conor Francis (56 minutes).
LIMERICK: Aaron O'Sullivan; Jim Liston, Seán O'Dea, Brian O'Sullivan; Colm McSweeney, Bob Childs, Paul Maher; Tommy Childs, Tommy Griffin; Iain Corbett, Cathal Downes, Cillian Fahy; Barry Coleman, Eoin Hurley, Peter Nash. SUBS: Joe Sweeney for Jim Liston (51 minutes), Shane Costello for Cathal Downes (51 minutes), Andrew Meade for Eoin Hurley (57 minutes), Shane Doherty for Brian O'Sullivan (59 minutes), Aaron Neville for Colm McSweeney (57 minutes).
REFEREE: Jerome Henry (Mayo).