Anthony Daly feels Limerick are at the level required for Munster success but isn’t as sure of their opponents.
The former Clare and Dublin manager says: “I think (Limerick manager) John Kiely’s a realist when he says ‘you’re either at it or you’re not at it’.
“That was a great statement, I thought. They’re at it in training and they seem to be at it in the club championship. They’re at it and we can say that for sure. Can we say it about the other four in Munster? I’m not sure. Waterford looked very good up to the League final but then Limerick sort of dismantled them in the League final. Is that down to Limerick or did maybe the occasion, Croke Park and everything, get to Waterford?”
Limerick’s strength in depth and belief in their system are powerful weapons, he adds.
“There was an awful lot made last year of Nickie Quaid and how influential he was, and rightly so. He’s been a top class keeper for years but I mean the puckout retention just became unbelievable, and the one game they gave Barry Hennessy a run this year, it nearly went up.
“I know it was against Laois, who you’d say they’re a league above, let’s say, but at the same time, the system... most goalies will put it into your hand if you can create space and that’s what they’re doing around the middle. They’ve those three weapons of yokes in the half-forward line and then you look at the half-back line and how comfortable are Morrissey, Hannon, and Byrnes on the ball? Cian Lynch, you can puck it to him, he’ll win it.”
Daly expects Waterford’s games in Walsh Park in the Munster championship to be a help to them, particularly for the visit of Clare: “It’s tough, it’s very tough when you go away like that. It’s a good journey on a bus (from Clare), it’s a good two and a half hours and if you stop in Limerick it’s a day, you’re gone since breakfast.
"The only thing I’d say is that the best thing that ever happened was losing the toss for the league quarter-final (against Waterford). They probably went somewhere, did a recce themselves, that’s what I’d have done myself anyway as management, I’d have taken off with the physical trainer, stopped off maybe in two hotels, see is this a good distance, is that?
"Clare I think do that, they go somewhere and come (to the game).”
The importance of timing and planning before the game event starts is often overlooked, added Daly.
“The day and age we live in, timing is everything for that stuff. The GAA will have to have the ball thrown in, with TV and that stuff, at 2pm. If you’re in some hotel and you’ve a garda escort you’re going to be getting in there at a quarter to one, that’s the way it works.
“I remember being late for one league game when I was in charge of Dublin, we got caught in Galway, we were in Galway in loads of time but getting to Salthill itself was another matter! The players were nearly bulling with us afterwards. I was like, ‘this is one in five years’. I think it was the fifth year and the first time we were late for a league game. ‘And the match still went ahead, lads!’
“But players want that taken out of their hands completely. When they get out of the bed in the morning, after having the breakfast with the mother, they throw the gear on the bus and they want you to take over. All they want to worry about is their performance, that first ball. In my day, if I can remember playing, that’s all I wanted to worry about. For Donal (Moloney) and Gerry (O’Connor, Clare joint managers) and the backroom staff, it’s all about having those things ready for them so they can go and express themselves.”