SENIOR FOOTBALLERS BEAT LIMERICK TO MAKE IT TWO WINS FROM TWO
ALLIANZ NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION TWO
By Daire Walsh
Dublin made it two wins from two in Division Two of the Allianz National Football League with a nine-point victory against Limerick at the TUS Gaelic Grounds on Sunday.
With a combined haul of 1-13, the full-forward line of Dean Rock, Ross McGarry and Con O’Callaghan led the way for the Sky Blues in the scoring stakes. Brian Fenton also found the net to compliment the green flag effort he mustered in the previous weekend’s narrow triumph over Kildare at Croke Park.
Limerick produced a big second half effort to reduce their 13-point interval deficit and come way with some solace from what was the first competitive game between these two teams in just under 16 years.
Dublin manager Dessie Farrell and selector Pat Gilroy were playing when Dublin defeated Limerick on a scoreline of 0-15 to 0-9 in a March 1993 league clash at the Gaelic Grounds and they watched from the sidelines as their charges enjoyed a powerful start to the action.
After Skerries Harps defender Greg McEneaney kicked an opening minute point, McGarry and Rock found the target to create early daylight on the scoreboard. An All Star nominee in 2022, Cian Sheehan subsequently got Limerick up and running with an eighth-minute point.
Dublin were playing with confidence, however, and reinforced their superiority with two scores on the bounce from Rock and O’Callaghan. Rock was arguably the most experienced player in the Dublin team for this game and he underlined his importance by dispatching a 15th-minute penalty to the Limerick net.
This was the catalyst for a further spell of dominance from the visitors with O’Callaghan, McGarry (two) and Lorcan O’Dell – fresh from his goalscoring cameo for DCU in their Sigerson Cup quarter-final victory against MTU Cork last Tuesday – kicking four points without reply.
Limerick inside forward Adrian Enright eventually brought this scoring sequence to an end, only for Fenton to produce a palmed finish for Dublin’s second goal on 27 minutes. As the half progressed, James Naughton (0-2) and Sheehan did add to Limerick’s tally.
However, thanks to points from Rock, Lucan Sarsfields’ Daire Newcombe and O’Callaghan, Dublin brought a 2-12 to 0-5 cushion into the interval.
Hugh Bourke had been introduced to the Limerick attack during the opening half and he did his chances of future selection no harm with a goal just four minutes after the restart. He also contributed a point that was squeezed in between similar efforts by Naughton and Enright to suddenly leave Limerick just seven adrift on 44 minutes.
Another eight minutes elapsed before Dublin scored again, but once they rediscovered their attack groove, the prospect of a Limerick fightback was ultimately eliminated. Rock (two), McGarry and O’Callaghan amassed four points in as many minutes to give the Sky Blues a commanding 2-16 to 1-8 buffer.
It was almost 15 years ago that Eoghan O’Gara kicked a point on his debut for Dublin in a Division Two league success over Roscommon. His younger brother Killian made his NFL bow against Kildare last Saturday week and registered his first league score in response to a Naughton free.
He joined his Templeogue Synge Street colleague Niall Scully on the pitch upon his arrival in place of McGarry, while another of his club-mates – O’Dell – had started the game before being replaced in the second period. Limerick ended the game with back-to-back points from Naughton and Iain Corbett, but Dublin nevertheless got the result they craved in their bid for an automatic return to Division One.
Next up for Dublin is an encounter against Cork at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on February 19 (throw-in 3.45pm).
Dublin scorers: Dean Rock 1-5 (1-0 pen, 0-4f), Ross McGarry, Con O’Callaghan 0-4 each, Brian Fenton 1-0, Greg McEneaney, Lorcan O’Dell, Daire Newcombe, Killian O’Gara 0-1 each.
Limerick scorers: James Naughton 0-5 (4f), Hugh Bourke 1-1, Cian Sheehan, Adrian Enright 0-2 each, Iain Corbett 0-1.
Dublin: David O’Hanlon; Sean McMahon, Daire Newcombe, Cian Murphy; Lee Gannon, Greg McEneaney, Tom Lahiff; Brian Fenton, Peadar Ó Cofaigh Byrne; Niall Scully, Lorcan O’Dell, Ciaran Kilkenny; Ross McGarry, Con O’Callaghan, Dean Rock.
Subs: Colm Basquel for O’Dell (45 mins), Killian O’Gara for McGarry (60 mins), Adam Fearon for Gannon (64 mins), Sean Lowry for O’Callaghan (66 mins), Ben Millist for McEneaney (69 mins).
Limerick: Donal O’Sullivan; David Connelly, Sean O’Dea, Barry Coleman; Brian Fanning, Cillian Fahy, Michael Donovan; Cian Sheehan, Iain Corbett; Paul Maher, James Naughton, Gordon Browne; Adrian Enright, Cathal Downes, Davy Lyons.
Subs: Hugh Bourke for Lyons (20 mins), Killian Ryan for Sheehan (half-time), Peter Nash for Browne (59 mins), Tony McCarthy for Donovan (60 mins), Robbie Bourke for Enright (68 mins).