Billy Lee: Limerick have learned from Cork mauling

Billy Lee: Limerick have learned from Cork mauling
Limerick football manager Billy Lee

Limerick football manager Billy Lee insists lessons have been learned as his side head into tomorrow’s All-Ireland qualifier with Westmeath in Mullingar.

Lee’s charges fell to a 21-point loss to Cork in the Munster SFC semi-final last time out and the Newcastle West man admits it took a while to get over such a heavy defeat.

“The first session or two after the Cork game were low, as you can imagine. The lads were just coming to terms with what had happened. It was what it was. We have learned a lot from it.

The last number of sessions have been full of zip and energy. The momentum is there and we are very much focused on the game ahead.

Limerick face a Westmeath side that hold an advantage over them in recent years. The Lake County have seen off the Treaty comfortably in league meetings in recent times.

Their last All-Ireland qualifier meeting came in 2006, when Westmeath earned a 0-13 to 1-9 win.

Lee, though, is hopeful that a performance like the one put in against Tipperary in the Munster quarter-final can be replicated tomorrow at Cusack Park.

“Westmeath are a Division 2 team for next year. The only team that were in a higher division than them in the draw was Monaghan. That just puts the size of the task in context. It’s a challenge that we will go and take on and see what we can do on the night.”

The Limerick manager says the atmosphere in training ahead of this game is different to that in the lead up to the Cork game. His fledgling side went into the fixture at Páirc Uí Rinn with a bit of expectation for the first time and Lee points to that as one of the possible reasons for such a flat performance.

There are always learnings in life and how to handle victory was a new venture for the boys. They had a tough night in Cork and have learned from it.

"The most important thing is that they faced the challenge and didn’t go and bury their heads in the sand. They didn’t start walking away from the group. They have come back and have looked for reasons as to why the loss happened. They have had some tough conversations with themselves. That’s a measure of them as well. To be able to face the truth and accept it.

"We will embrace the challenge on Saturday night and go at it.

“We have to be in that space where we are going at it and really focused. Things have ratcheted up since last week. Things are a bit different and it’s very noticeable on the training ground ahead of this game when compared to the Cork game. Hopefully, that will show in the performance.”

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