Kearns happy but vexed at way goals were conceded

THE relief in the Limerick camp at the end of yesterday’s Munster SFC clash with Tipperary was palpable.

To concede three first-half goals and still come away with the spoils speaks volumes for the character of this Limerick side, which has suffered its own share of heartbreak in recent years.

Team coach Liam Kearns spoke about the character of his side, but was at a loss and somewhat concerned at the way the goals were conceded.

“If we were to give Kerry or Cork that kind of start neither of the two of them would have left us back into the game,” said a relieved Kearns.

“We were on top of them in most areas of the field, but every time they attacked, particularly in the first 20 minutes, they got a goal and that is a huge worry for us.

“I won’t fault the keeper who was a late replacement for Séamus O’Donnell. If anything, our defence was at fault and we’ll have a look at that ahead of the semi-final.

“To be fair to our forwards, they kicked 16 points, but missed a number of goal chances that against another team could be very costly. We missed three or four goal chances which is becoming a problem for us.

“Against Kerry in the league semi-final, we missed three goal chances and it’s another area we will have to seriously look at. On occasions out there today we were one-on-one with the goalkeeper and couldn’t put the ball in the net. Another day we’d be punished for that.

“Overall, we got what we came for. What pleased me most was the way the lads battled back after conceding those first-half goals and I said in the dressing room at half-time to stay cool and the chances would come.

“However, the performance is still a long way off from where I want the team to be at, and we have a month now to remedy the mistakes we made out there.

A relieved Muiris Gavin felt his side got out of jail. “We were leading by two points late in the game and Tipp could well have got a fourth goal, which would have made it impossible for us to score again.

“We have to be disappointed at conceding three goals, so I am just relieved to have come away with the win. We got a real test from Tipp which is bound to stand to us for the semi-final, but we won’t get carried away.

“There is still some work to be done if we are to make it back to the Munster final.”

Tipperary coach Alan Shortall put his side’s defeat down to that extra bit of sharpness a team gets from playing at a higher level in the league.

“We got the kind of start we wanted, and even though we surrendered a good lead we were still in the game in the closing minutes, which was encouraging,” he said.

“The principal difference was Limerick’s ability to kick points. They got 16 of them to our five and that tells its own story.

“All credit to them, they never panicked and that comes from playing at a higher level. They’ve had a very good league campaign which stood to them out there today.

“Hopefully, we can pick ourselves up and get back on the trail again. Who knows what the draws will turn up for us, but we’ll be ready when the times comes.”

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