Prolific Carys Johnson secured her hat-trick as Limerick cruised past basement side Kilkenny United at Hogan Park on Sunday afternoon.

The visitors suffered their ninth consecutive league defeat at the hands of a hard-working Limerick side who capitalised on some poor defending to ensure a comfortable 5-1 win.

There was a change of venue for the hosts and also a change in fortune for David Rooney’s side who recorded their first win since their opening day victory over Kilkenny, thanks to a Carys Johnson hat-trick and goals from Shannen Parbat and Tara Mannix.

Kilkenny upped the tempo in the second half and were rewarded for their efforts when Carla McManus gave her side a consolation goal but it was too little too late for her tiring young side.

Limerick showed Kilkenny little mercy from the get-go and should have been ahead within 10 minutes but Amy McCormack could only watch on as her well-worked effort edged past Niamh Coombes’ far post.

Despite a bright start, Limerick failed to take advantage of their control on the game as Shane Murray’s nervy looking side limited the hosts’ chances for the next twenty minutes.

The home side were the better team in a poor opening half an hour, enjoying the lion's share of possession without creating any clear-cut opportunities.

Limerick kept asking questions though and eventually took the lead, just as the game looked like it would filter out to half-time.

Failing to clear their lines, Kilkenny left the in-form Carys Johnson in space as she slotted home on 34 minutes to give her side a well-deserved lead.

Kilkenny’s game plan seemed to be put out the window as Limerick doubled their lead minutes later, thanks to Johnson’s second goal of the afternoon.

Space began to open up and the rampant striker took her opportunity well, finding the back of the Kilkenny net for the second time in the space of five minutes.

Limerick seemed to secure all three points on the verge of half-time when Shannen Parbat sent Kilkenny into the dressing room with plenty to do in the second-half.

The break in play sparked a response from Kilkenny and they were fully rewarded for their improved work rate with what proved to be only a consolation goal as Carla McManus’ drilled effort got the better of Karen Connolly.

Kilkenny's second-half resistance would break, however, as they failed to deal with a ball into the box and Limerick took full advantage.

Carys Johnson secured her hat-trick as she eased past a tiring Kilkenny defence, capping off an excellent individual performance by firing into the back of the net.

Rooney’s young guns did have the final say on the scoresheet on 88 minutes when defender Tara Mannix coolly finished from close range after the initial free-kick was blocked by the Kilkenny wall.

Limerick: Karen Connolly; Amy McCormack, Tara Mannix, Marie Curtin, Lauren Keane; Sylvia Gee; Danielle Sheehy (Alanna Morris (81), Aisling O’Connor (Amber Kenny 46), Shannen Parbat; Rebecca Horgan; Carys Johnson.

Kilkenny United: Niamh Coombes; Aoife Brophy, Ciara Maher, Sarah O’Donoghue, Michaela Walsh; Jennifer O’Neill, Kayla Cooling, Bronagh Kane, Carla McManus (Jade Grant 7), Anne Marie Byrne; Nicky Plunkett (Sara O’Sullivan 53).

Referee: Vicki McEnery

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