Limerick 1-25 Laois 0-18

Limerick had 10 points to spare over Laois in their round one Allianz Hurling League tie in the Gaelic Grounds.

In the corresponding fixture last season in Division 1B Limerick struck six goals past the Leinster side but this time round John Kiely’s home side had to battle hard for a 1-25 to 0-18 victory.

Gearoid Hegarty hit 2-6 this time last year and he was the towering attacker that scored this game’s only goal, the score coming 22 minutes into the opening half.

That goal helped Limerick to a 1-12 to 0-7 half time lead in a game watched by an attendance of 1,450.

Points from Aaron Gillane, Diarmaid Byrnes and Cian Lynch saw Limerick settle early and they were 0-6 to 0-3 ahead by the end of the opening exchanges.

Ross King kept Laois in touch for more of the half and both he and Limerick free-taker Gillane each finished with 11 points each.

The Hegarty goal moved Limerick 1-7 to 0-5 clear and while Laois responded through points from King, Limerick moved towards a half-time lead of eight points, thanks to points from Paul Browne and Tom Morrissey.

In the second-half four points from King helped Laois close in on their opponents after the 10th minute mark, but Browne, Morrissey and Barry O’Connell all hit points to ensure Limerick kept Laois at bay.

A run of five of the next six points all but ensured the Limerick win to move them 1-20 to 0-12 ahead as the stopwatch reached 57 minutes.

Substitute David Reidy also helped himself to two points in this period.

Laois did respond and King, Patrick Purcell and goalkeeper Enda Rowland all posted scores.

But Limerick again finished on top and Gillane, Browne and Reidy had points to ensure a double-digit success for the men in green.

Limerick: N Quaid; S Finn, S Hickey, R English; D Byrnes (0-2), D Morrissey, P O’Loughlin; P Browne (0-3), C Lynch (0-2); T Morrissey (0-3), D O’Donovan, B O’Connell (0-1); A Gillane (0-11, 6f, 2 ‘65), S Flanagan, G Hegarty (1-0).

Subs: C Ryan for O’Connell (46), B Murphy for Hegarty (46), D Reidy (0-3)  for Flanagan (52).

Laois: E Rowland (0-2, 2f); L Cleere, L Bergin, P Lawlor; J Kelly, M Whelan, E Killeen, P Purcell (0-2), J Ryan; B Conroy (0-1), S Downey, C Taylor; R King (0-11, 6f, 2 ‘65), N Foyle, Paddy McKane.

Subs: D Hartnett for Cleere (20), W Dunphy (0-1) for McKane (31), C Stapleton for Kelly (h-t), A Corby (0-1) for Downey (50), S Bergin for C Taylor (57).

Referee: C Canning (Antrim).