Antrim swept aside by Shannonsiders in qualifiers

Limerick 8-26 Antrim 1-15
Limerick swept to a landslide win over Antrim at the Gaelic Grounds in a game that was as good as over after ten minutes.

By the ten-minute mark, the hosts were already 4-1 to 0-2 ahead and coasting through to the third phase of the All-Ireland SHC qualifiers.

Antrim looked rudderless and were a huge disappointment this afternoon as Limerick's forwards had an outing they will long remember.

None fared better than the 19-year-old Shane Dowling who finished with a whopping 4-8, with all the goals coming from play and also three of the points.

Another teenager, Declan Hannon, went in as a substitute after 16 minutes and he showed manager John Allen that he is ready for a starting place with a contribution of 0-6.

Antrim had barely taken up their positions when they found themselves a goal behind. James Ryan made the initial move and Seanie Tobin cracked in the goal inside the first minute.

Neal McAuley had an Antrim point before Tobin did likewise for Limerick. Two goals by Dowling and another by Niall Moran had Limerick cruising and after 11 minutes it was 4-2 to 0-2.

Antrim then scored three points without reply from Shane McNaughton, Liam Watson (free) and McNaugghton again before Graeme Mulcahy raced through for Limerick's fifth goal.

At the break Limerick led 5-7 to 0-13 and by the timethat Barry McAuley had Antrim's first point of the second half after 7 minutes, Limerick had increased their tally by five.

Dowling and Mulcahy had further Limerick goals as the shooting practice continued in one of the most one-sided games ever seen at this level at this venue.

Just at the end Neil McManus had an Antrim goal and with the last piece of the action the visitors' best player, Watson, stepped up to take a penalty following a foul by Richie McCarthy. Watson struck it superbly only to see his effort come back off the crossbar and it was pushed out for a '65'.

Antrim will bemoan 11 first half wides when backed by the stiff breeze. By the finish they chalked up 16 wides compared to only six by this sharpshooting Limerick side.

Scorers - Limerick, S Dowling 4-9 (0-5f, 0-1 '65'), G Mulcahy 2-4, S Tobin 1-3, D Hannon 0-6, N Moran 1-0, S O'Brien 0-2, R McCarthy, T O'Brien 0-1 each

Antrim: L Watson 0-7 (0-6f), N McManus 1-1, S McNaughton 0-3, B McAuley 0-2, N McAuley, E McCloskey 0-1 each

LIMERICK: N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy, T Condon; W McNamara, D O'Grady, G O'Mahony; J Ryan, T O'Brien; S Dowling, B Geary, D Breen; G Mulcahy, N Moran, S Tobin.

Subs used: D Hannon for Breen (16 mins), A Murphy for Quaid (half-time), S O'Brien for Geary (50), S O'Neill for Condon (51), S Hickey for McNamara (55).

ANTRIM: D Quinn; P J O'Connell, N McGarry, A Graffin; B McAuley, J Campbell, N Gethins; B McAuley, P Shields; E McCloskey, N McManus, B McFall; S McNaughton, L Watson, C Carson.

Subs used: J Kerr for O'Connell (20 mins), M Herron for Gethins (46).

Referee: Johnny Ryan (Tipperary)

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