Limerick brushed aside the challenge of Leinster Intermediate Champions Kildare to make a decisive opening start to their Championship campaign with an emphatic 2-16 to 0-4 victory in Clane.
Limerick have recorded three wins against Senior opposition already this year and the experience gained in those games at the higher grade was evident from the off as Limerick were significantly sharper and quicker to every ball in the opening exchanges. Niamh Mulcahy opened Limerick's account with a point from a free in the 2nd minute following early Limerick pressure. Limerick were dominating midfield with Limerick's partnership of Deirdre Fitzpatrick and Mary O'Callaghan dominant. Full-forward Aoife Sheehan was creating problems for the Kildare defence from the off and she added a point from play followed on the quarter hour mark with an excellent goal to make the score Limerick 1-2 Kildare 0-0.
Limerick entered a purple patch with Niamh Mulcahy adding four points, two from placed balls, and Caoimhe Costelloe one to stretch Limerick's score to 1-7. Mairéad Fitzgerald then rattled the net to get Limerick's second goal as the game neared half-time. Niamh Mulchay added a point from a free before Kildare replied with a pointed free from Siobah Hurley that was to be their only score of the half. Limerick 2-8 Kildare 0-1.
With Limerick dominant the second half was a less frantic affair and Kildare opened the scoring with a well taken point from Cliodhna McSweeney. Niamh Mulcahy added two points from placed balls and Kildare replied with another point from Susie O'Carroll. Niamh Mulcahy got another two points following some excellent work through the middle.
Kildare added their fourth and final score from a free on the quarter hour mark and from there on it was all Limerick with constant pressure yielding frees which were converted by Niamh Mulcahy. Limerick management emptied the bench as the game headed towards the final whistle with the final score falling to Mary O'Callaghan who recorded her first score of the season to leave the score at the final whistle Limerick 2-16 Kildare 0-4.
A good start for Limerick but there will without doubt be tougher challenges ahead. Next up is the visit of Antrim to Bruff on next Saturday 28th June at 2.30pm.
Limerick scorers: Niamh Mulcahy 0-13 (8 frees, 2 45s), Aoife Sheehan 1-1, Mairéad Fitzgerald 1-0, Caoimhe Costelloe, Mary O'Callaghan 0-1 each.
Intermediate Team: 1 Sile Moynihan (Ahane), 2 Fiona Hickey (Granagh Ballingarry) Capt, 3 Michelle Casey (Killeedy), 4 Judith Mulcahy (Ahane), 5 Katie Campbell (Na Piarsaigh), 6 Sarah Carey (Patrickswell), 7 Claire Mulcahy (Ahane), 8 Deirdre Fitzpatrick (Killeedy), 9 Mary O’Callaghan (Bruff), 10 Caoimhe Costelloe (Adare), 11 Niamh Mulcahy (Ahane), 12 Rebecca Delee (Newcastle West), 13 Deborah Murphy (Knockaderry), 14 Aoife Sheehan (Granagh Ballingarry), 15 Mairéad Fitzgerald (Granagh Ballingarry)
Subs used: Mairéad Ryan (Galbally) for Deirdre Fitzpatrick, Niamh Ryan (Bruff) for Rebecca Delee, Meadhbh O'Neill (Galbally) for Deborah Murphy, Karen O'Leary (Newcastle West) for Caoimhe Costelloe, Lorraine McCarthy (Bruff) for Mairéad Fitzgerald
Subs: 16 Laura O’Neill (Na Piarsaigh), 17 Mairéad Ryan (Galbally), 18 Niamh Ryan (Bruff), 19 Muireann Creamer (Cappamore), 20 Sarah Collins (Ballyagran), 21 Meadhbh O’Neill (Galbally), 22 Karen O’Leary (Newcastle West), 23 Donna Mulcahy (Killeedy), 24 Sinéad McNamara (Na Piarsaigh), 25 Lorraine McCarthy (Bruff), 26 Noreen Barry (Killeedy), 27 Marguerita McCarthy (Ahane), 28 Katie Hennessy (Ballyagran), 29 Kristy Carroll (Galbally), 30 Caitrín De Bhál (Feenagh Kilmeedy)