Limerick 1-06 Armagh 2-16
Armagh comfortably saw of Limerick to go top of Division 3 in Kilmallock on Sunday.
A powerful second-half performance from Kieran McGeeney’s squad was enough to wrap up a 13-point victory and really put a strong grip on their thrust for promotion.
Playing into the breeze during the first 35, Armagh started with urgency, with Tony Kernan converting a free in the third minute after a foul on Aidan Forker.
The visitors then doubled the lead through Finnian Moriarty, who started the game at centre-half back.
Armagh further stretched their lead grabbing a great goal following superb fielding from Ethan Rafferty and Andrew Murnin, who in turn laid it off to Aiden Forker, who dispatched it past the Limerick goalkeeper.
Micheal McKenna added a point less than 60 seconds later to leave six in it after just 12 minutes.
The hosts finally were able to weather the early storm and registered their first score of the contest on 19 minutes with a Cillian Fahy point, however, Ethan Rafferty restored the six-point gap almost immediately having a blasted point that could so easily have been a goal.
The game then really stepped up a gear 23 a few minutes in, when Limerick rattled Niall Geoghegan’s frame. A failed fisted attempt for a point came back from the post and into the trail of Thomas Lee who didn’t require a second invitation, slotting beyond the helpless Geoghegan.
The Treaty county could have had a second goal right after only for Forker to clear of the line. A long-high ball in causing confusing within the Armagh backline.
With five minutes of the first-half remaining Danny Neville scored his first point of the game with Aidan Forker replying shortly afterwards.
Neville pointed again with another free from 45 metres out but Armagh went in at the break with a three point cushion as a result of a well-worked score through the Grange’s Micheal McKenna.
Armagh started the second-half much more resilient and never really took their foot of the gas, with Limerick only managing three scores in the entire 35 minutes.
Tony Kernan converted a free from 45 yards two minutes following the interval before man-of-the-match McKenna added another for the Orchard county.
Goalkeeper Brian Scanlon responded from distance slotting over a free shortly after but that was to be it for the next 22 minutes for the hosts.
A McKenna point from play preceded a Mark Shields point and goal ahead of Kernan (twice), substitute Ciaron O’Hanlon and McKenna stretched the result in 13 points.
Gareth Noonan ended the Limerick drought in 66 minutes before Seanie Buckley lessened the deficit to 11.
But Armagh were not done there as Caolan Rafferty and O’Hanlon scored in extra-time to provide gloss to what was a terrific away performance.
Armagh now head into next Saturday’s game v Fermanagh at home knowing a win will by them within touching distance of reaching their goal of promotion back to Division 2. Next Saturday’s game will be a double header with our Senior Hurlers playing v Kildare beforehand.