Limerick 2-23 Wexford 0-15

Graeme Mulcahy and Declan Hannon found the net in the second half as Limerick got their promotion bid to Division 1B of the Allianz Hurling League off to a flying start with a 2-23 to 0-15 win at the Gaelic Grounds.

Limerick dominated the opening half and picked off some wonderful points to lead by 0-16 to 0-04 at the break.

Eight Limerick men found the target in that opening half as Wexford struggled to get up to the pace of the game and TJ Ryan’s men cantered into a huge lead. 

Wexford, who lined out without Jack Guiney who has a hamstring problem, were well off the pace in the opening half and Limerick did not have to hit top gear to pull away.

Four points in the opening five minutes gave TJ Ryan’s men a superb start as Tom Morrissey, Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon and Paul Browne found the range.

Midfielder Browne finished with 0-05 from play, four of them in the opening half, as Limerick picked off scores at will.

"We worked hard in the off season and it's nice to get a victory in the first day. We had a lot of things to work on in the off-season. Some things went well, some things didn't. We have a lot to work on for the rest of the league. We're focused on the league this year,” said Bruff player after a man of the match display.

Limerick’s early lead would have been even great had Hannon been able to connect with a rebound after Wexford goalkeeper Mark Fanning did well to deny Cian Lynch, who was the only home forward not to score in the opening half but he was prominent throughout.

Barry Nash chipped in with a couple of points from the right as Browne kept the scoreboard operator busy and with only a Liam Og McGovern point in response, Limerick led by 0-10 to 0-01 after 19 minutes.

A couple of Ian Byrne frees helped Wexford cut the gap but Limerick powered on and led by 0-16 to 0-04 at the interval.

They dipped after the restart as Wexford, after making three interval substitutions, finally rallied and a string of Harry Kehoe frees and a couple of Andrew Shore points, after he impressed when switching from centre-back to centre-forward, cut the gap back to seven.

But then Graeme Mulcahy finished a rebound to the net just a minute after coming on when he pounced after Morrissey’s effort was well saved by Fanning and that killed off the comeback.

The sides exchanged points several times in the closing minutes as the contest fizzled out in front of a crowd of 2,359 at a wet Gaelic Grounds, before Hannon put the gloss on things with a late goal.

Limerick: N Quaid; T Condon, R McCarthy, R English; D Morrissey, D Byrnes (0-04, 0-03f), S Hickey; J Fitzgibbon (0-01), P Browne (0-04); B Nash (0-02), G O'Mahony (0-02), D Reidy (0-01); T Morrissey (0-02), D Hannon (1-04, 0-03f), C Lynch (0-01).

Subs: G Mulchay (1-01) for Nash (47 mins), D O'Donovan for Fitzgibbon (53 mins), S Tobin (0-01) for Reidy (61 mins).

Wexford: M Fanning; A Kenny, M O'Hanlon (0-01), J Breen; A Shore (0-02), L Ryan, P Foley; L Chin (0-02), H Kehoe (0-06, 0-06f); C Dunbar, A Nolan, I Byrne (0-02, 0-02f); D Dunne, S Tompkins, L Óg McGovern (0-01).
Subs: S Murphy (0-01) for Dunbar (27 mins), E Conroy for Foley (h-t), E Moore for Nolan (h-t), P Doran for Byrne (h-t), J O'Connor for Tompkins (58 mins).

Referee: D Kirwan (Cork)