Waterford Overcome Battling Limerick

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Michael Gildea travelled to Adare to see Waterford overcome Limerick in the opening round of the TG4 Intermediate Championship.

On Friday night last Waterford took their first steps to a sixth Munster Intermediate championship title in a row with a workman-like performance against a game Limerick team who battled hard and had the Deise girls worried for long stretches of the game. Played in excellent conditions, in Adare, on a hot balmy evening, Waterford were first off the mark with a well taken free from Michelle Ryan after 3 minutes.

This score was quickly cancelled out when Limerick’s sharpshooter Marie Curtin slotted over a free for the Treatysiders.

Liz Devine who was making her championship debut put Waterford in front after 5 minutes with a point from a very acute angle, before a long ball out of Waterford’s defence was picked up by Ballyduff’s Hannah Landers and she duly slotted the ball to the back of the net giving the Limerick keeper no chance to leave Waterford 4 points in front.

Instead of giving the Deise the impetus to drive on, it galvanised the Limerick girls to pour forward and take the game to the Waterford girls.

In the 9th minute Aimee Jordan made a wonderful point blank save from Limerick’s most dangerous forward Marie Curtin and  in the resultant follow up Karen Mc Grath did exceptionally well to be in the right place at the right time and avert a Limerick goal.

Limerick went on a little burst and scored two quick points to narrow the gap to two points before Liz Devine got her second score in the 15th minute to extend Waterford’s lead to three. From the 15th to the 23rd minutes it was all Limerick and it took major resolute defending by the Waterford girls to ensure that Limerick only scored two points in this period of the game to leave the bare minimum between the teams. Aileen Wall got her opening score of the game, a point, in the 22 minute and sister, Mairead, settled Waterford nerves further with a point on 25 minutes.

Elaine Power cut through the defences to add a third point for Waterford  in the 27th minute to leave three between the teams coming up to half time. In the dying minutes of the half Michelle Ryan and Marie Curtin exchanged frees to leave the half time score Waterford 1-7 Limerick 0-7.

Limerick opened the second half with renewed energy buoyed by the fact that Waterford’s Mairead Wall was sin binned for a tackle just before the half time break and with two quick points the green and white girls had eroded Waterford’s lead once again.

In the 40th minute Linda Wall replied for Waterford with a well taken point following a quick passing movement orchestrated by her sister Aileen. Limerick were not to be outdone however and stubbornly clung on with a fine point in the 41st minute. Mairead Wall got her second point in the 44th minute but once again Limerick refused to wilt and narrow the gap with a well taken point in the 45th minute to leave just one between the teams again. In the 46th minute Liz Devine, who was having an outstanding game, scored her third point before Aileen Wall and Elaine Power each got points to finally break Limerick hearts.

The icing was finally put on the cake in the 58th minute when a long through ball caught the Limerick defence napping and an alert Linda Wall read the situation expertly and despatched the ball past the despairing Limerick goalkeeper to finally seal a Waterford win on the score line  Waterford 2-12 Limerick 0-11

This was a tough game in which Waterford came out the right side of the scoreline against a game Limerick team who belied their status as underdogs. In championship the result is usually all that matters and Waterford got the necessary result with a below par performance in general. There is plenty of food for thought for the team management to take from this game but there are also many positives.The defence performed well as a unit especially in the second half with Grainne Kenneally, Grainne Enright and Mary Foley shining.

Midfield had a tough night at the office in general but the steadied things down in the latter part of the second half when the pressure came on. Up front Liz Devine can be rightly proud of her championship debut, Linda Wall and Hannah Landers took their goals well and Mairead and Aileen Wall got through a lot of hard work. Lauren Guiry entered the fray in the last quarter and can be well pleased with her senior inter county debut. Bigger challenges lay ahead for the Deise girls.

Tipperary are up next on July 2nd in a Waterford venue with a 7:30 throw in.



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