The manager was desperately unhappy with the workrate of his frontmen as Tipp cantered to a comfortable 10-point victory. On top of that his charges shot 16 wides, 11 in the first half, despite wind advantage.
And Allen had this message for his attackers: “Our forwards need to work much harder – that’s something we’re very aware of for the past year and a half. Our forwards as a unit didn’t work half hard enough today. When you’re allowing backs to come out and be able to pick out players with the ball, that’s not good enough.”
The sides were level six times in that first half but Limerick fell apart after the break as Tipp cruised into a semi-final meeting with Limerick IT.
Limerick failed to register a score from play in the second half as leading scorer Shane Dowling scored 1-1 from placed balls, including a penalty 20 minutes from time. The Shannonsiders managed just 0-5 from play during the entire game but Tipp, in contrast, were in decent scoring form.
Brian O’Meara, Johnny Ryan and 2010 All-Ireland winning captain Eoin Kelly scored five points each for the winners. O’Meara hit four of his points from play, Kelly landed four placed balls while midfielder Ryan was deadly accurate from long-range frees and a second half 65.
Timmy Hammersley, who has enjoyed a productive January, hit three points from play and sub Shane McGrath got in on the act with a quick-fire brace after coming on.
This early season setback will concern Allen as Limerick meet Tipperary again in the Munster SHC semi-final in June.
The former Cork boss said: “We created enough chances to be ahead at half-time but we didn’t take them. At this level, if you don’t finish them, you don’t win the game.”
Limerick, admittedly, were short a number of key players but Allen was refusing to use that as an excuse.
“I don’t think any team can afford to be short key players but the fellas on the panel were getting a chance to stake a claim. If you’re there, you must be good enough to be there.”
The teams negotiated tricky underfoot conditions, with Tipp edging 0-10 to 0-8 ahead at half-time. The second half was a procession for Tipp although Dowling’s penalty did reduce the deficit to three points, 1-9 to 0-15.
But that was Limerick’s final score of the game and in the remaining 20 minutes, Tipp hit seven points without reply.
Tipp selector Michael Ryan played down the result: “You don’t have high expectations from what you’re going to see here — it was a late January workout.”
Scorers for Tipperary: J Ryan (4f, 1 65), E Kelly (4f) & B O’Meara (1f), 0-5 each, T Hammersley 0-3, S McGrath 0-2, J O’Dwyer and J O’Neill 0-1 each.
Scorers for Limerick: S Dowling 1-3 (1-0 pen, 0-2f), G O’Mahoney 0-2f, N Maher 0-2, J Ryan and S Hickey 0-1 each.
TIPPERARY: B Cummins; C O’Brien, P Curran, D Maher; J McLoughney, B Maher, S Hennessy; J Woodlock, J Ryan; J O’Dwyer, T Hammersley, P Maher; B O’Meara, E Kelly, J O’Neill.
Subs: S McGrath for Woodlock (52), S Bourke for O’Dwyer (54), M Heffernan for Kelly (59).
LIMERICK: N Quaid; S O’Neill, R McCarthy, T Condon; W McNamara, D O’Grady, G O’Mahoney; C King, J Ryan; N Maher, S Hickey, N Moran; M Ryan, S Dowling, S Tobin.
Subs: D Moloney for O’Mahoney (h.t.), K Downes for M Ryan (h.t.), D Reidy for Tobin (52), T Quaid for Maher (56), S Walsh for Condon (64).
Referee: C Lyons (Cork).