herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Treaty write off Wexford

All-Ireland SHC quarter-final

SO that's that, then. The story of this hurling summer has ended. Wexford are out. Pummelled. Hammered. Embarrassed.

Liam Dunne stood like a man watching a particularly gorey car crash followed by a series of natural disasters.

Everything he knew was wrong.

"No complaints. Unfortunately, things didn't happen for us," he sighed after the team he built, the one that had taken over the mantle from Clare as hurling's most refreshing team, were annihilated by Limerick in Thurles.

The scoreline was 4-29 to 1-11 but the damage was much, much uglier.

"From early on in the game you could see that the heads were wanting to get there but the bodies weren't able to bring them there and I can't fault our fellas.

"It's been a tough couple of weeks and we just came up short."

It's true. Had Wexford won yesterday, we'd have concluded momentum had been a propelling force behind the victory.

That their exposure to big matches against big teams had been their friend.

Instead, Dunne wondered whether physically his players had burned more fuel than they cope with.

"Obviously, it was tough on them. Limerick, in fairness to them, were beaten in a Munster final and they came in today and you have to give them credit. They put our fellas under severe pressure, they brought an intensity to the game and unfortunately we just didn't have it.

"We have had a great couple of weeks but unfortunately it's all about the next game and we're out of the Championship now and Limerick are where we wanted to be."

None of which is to detract from the brilliant ruthlessness of Limerick's performance.

They had 46 scoring chances, converted 30 and went sniffing out goals whenever even a feint scent emerged. They outscored Wexford by 1-15 to 0-5 over the first chastising 31 minutes.

And then, for Wexford, it got truly awful.

In truth, the game had probably done being a contest by the time Shane Dowling's two goals went in just before half-time but they turned it from a rout to a massacre.

Their midfield of James Ryan and Paul Browne was utterly dominant and brilliantly dynamic.

Nine players scored and all of his backs broke even or better with their direct markers.

All of which didn't stop their manager, TJ Ryan, airing a grievances over some of the comment on his team.

"I saw something in one of the dailies yesterday where it was, basically a typical Limerick performance in the Munster final," he said, refusing to specify.

"I don't know what that was about but that's for another day. Today is a good day for Limerick hurling - we showed a bit of consistency as well. We were in an All-Ireland semi-final last year, we're back there again this year."

Where they should give Kilkenny plenty of it.

In Dowling, they had the match's maestro but the rest of the orchestra were fully in tune too.

Fatigue

Wexford were forced to move Conor McDonald twice before he got a meaningful touch of the ball and if the legs and bodies were showing signs of fatigue early on, their minds went completely when Limerick pulled away.

"It's tough on the players, it has been really tough," Dunne insisted.

"You don't have to be a genius to look at a hurling match and see fellas out on their feet even in the first 35 minutes and not able to get where they wanted to get to.

"In fairness, Limerick they brought the intensity and we weren't able to match it. We were always playing second fiddle but you can't take anything away from Limerick, they were outstanding today and are in an All-Ireland semi-final now."

Kilkenny be warned. There's fireworks in these Limerick forwards.

"I was happy coming into today," Ryan admitted. "I wasn't overly happy with some of the stuff that a lot of yee guys wrote over the couple of days about us, but that's a story for another day. We're happy to be where we are, in an All-Ireland semi-final. We have a job to do and look, we've got to go and show up in Croke Park."

SCORERS - Limerick: S Dowling 2-8 (0-5f); P Browne, D Breen 1-1 each; D Hannon 0-4; G Mulcahy, T Ryan, S Tobin (1f) 0-3 each; J Ryan 0-2; W McNamara 0-1 each. Wexford: S Tompkins 1-0; D O'Keeffe, J Guiney (2f) 0-3 each; P Doran, C McDonald 0-2 each; P Morris 0-1.

LIMERICK: N Quaid 7; S Hickey 8, R McCarthy 8, T Condon 8; G O'Mahony 7, W McNamara 8, P O'Brien 8; J Ryan 8, P Browne 9; T Ryan 8, D Hannon 8, D Breen 7; K Downes 6, S Dowling 9, G Mulcahy 7. Subs: N Moran 6 for Downes (50), S Tobin 8 Breen (50), S Walsh 7 for McCarthy (59), C King 7 for Ryan (65).

WEXFORD: M Fanning 6; L Ryan 5, M O'Hanlon 4, K Rossiter 6; A Shore 6, E Moore 5, C Kenny 4; D Redmond 4, L Chin 5; J Guiney 6, P Doran 6, D O'Keeffe 7; P Morris 4, C McDonald 6, L Óg McGovern 5. Subs: R Kehoe 6 for Kenny (h-t), S Tompkins 7 for Redmond (h-t), R Jacob 6 for Morris (43), I Byrne 6 for Doran (43), H Kehoe 6 for Moore (44).

WIDES - Limerick: 16 (10 + 6). Wexford: 12 (8 + 4).

BOOKED - Limerick: 0. Wexford: 1 (Rossiter 64).

SENT OFF - Limerick: 0. Wexford: 1 (O'Hanlon 72).

REF: B Kelly (Westmeath).

ATTENDANCE: 43,088.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Shane Dowling (Limerick).

Promoted articles

Entertainment News