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National Hurling League: Down 2-11 Limerick 1-25

After leading Limerick for 58 minutes Down collapsed in the final 12 as the Munster men came from behind, scoring a goal and nine points to a single point to retain their unbeaten spot at the top of the Allianz NHL Division Two table.

Played in bitterly cold conditions with a very strong breeze blowing down the pitch, Down took advantage of the elements early on.

James Coyle, who lobbed over six points, spoiled a brilliant personal display when two minutes from time he was dismissed for a second yellow card offence.

The sides were level at 0-2 each after 10 minutes with James Coyle scoring both Down points and Sean Tobin and Niall Maher replying for Limerick. Down went ahead after 12 minutes with a Scott Nicholson goal and with James Coyle and Benny Ennis scoring two points each they took control. A second Down goal after 20 minutes by Aidan Clarke saw Down lead by 2-6 to 0-8 with Richie McCarthy keeping Limerick in touch with four pointed frees as Down led by 2-8 to 0-11 at half time.

Assisted by the strong breeze in the second period Limerick were level after 12 minutes with points from Tom Condon, Richie McCarthy and Sean Tobin.

Down responded strongly and took the lead with a James Coyle point and when he added another the hosts were still in control. But a Pat Tobin goal, from a lob by Donal O'Grady saw Limerick take the lead for the first time with 12 minutes remaining. These scores ignited them and they produced a brilliant finish with points flowing from James Ryan, Brian Geary, Sean and Pat Tobin, James Ryan and substitutes Thomas O'Brien and Nial Moran to a single point by Andy Savage as Limerick finished in style.

Down: G. Clarke; M. Hughes,F. Conway; S. Ennis; K. McGarry, C. Woods (0-1), M. Ennis; A. Savage (0-1), E. Clarke; A. O'Prey, A. Clarke (1-0), J. Coyle (0-6); S. Nicholson (1-1), B. Ennis (0-2), C. Mageean. Subs: D. Toner for C. Mageean (60); M. Conlon for S. Nicholson (67).

Limerick: B. Murray; T. Condon (0-1), G. O'Mahoney, D. Maloney; W. McNamara, B. Geary (0-3), D. Breen; D. O'Grady (0-3), P. O'Brien; R. McCarthy (0-5), J. Ryan (0-3), D, Maher; P. Tobin (1-3), K. Downes (0-1), S. Tobin (0-4). Subs: N. Moran (0-1) for N. Maher (48); M. O'Riordan for P. O'Brien (50); T. O'Brien (0-1) for R. McCarthy (62).

Referee: E. Elliott (Antrim).

Belfast Telegraph