He’s likely right too, given the players Limerick still have to reintroduce. For now, though, it does raise at least a fortnight’s worth of questions until Limerick get the opportunity to right a few wrongs against Offaly.
Ryan was initially stuck for words at the end of a tough second half in which his side only mustered 0-3, offering a curt initial assessment: “Two points is good. That’s about the only positive I can come up with right now.”
The four-point differential doesn’t reflect Limerick’s status as a major force in hurling, although Kerry never really threatened to take the two points on offer. They hit too many second-half wides and, ultimately, left it too late.
“We were a shade comfortable in the finish,” maintained Ryan, “even though Kerry were chipping away and getting a couple of scores. I thought we should’ve had maybe one or two more scores. It’s a win but I wouldn’t be raving about it.”
Limerick’ continued presence in Division 1B brings added pressures. Ryan’s then co-manager Donal O’Grady resigned in 2014 after the County Board failed to retract an alleged apology on behalf of the management team for their league performance, so style points are on offer even this early in the season.
“From a Limerick point of view we’re trying to win the league all the time,” said Ryan. “Look, we’re well focused. I’m not going to make excuses.”
He did, however, list some areas that weren’t up to scratch.
“We used the ball well to a degree but our decision-making from the halfway line up left a lot to be desired.
“We didn’t play well enough, didn’t use the ball well enough, should’ve got more scores. We played the second half at Kerry’s pace, simple as.”
Limerick looked the part early on, scoring 1-16 to beat their first-half output from the Wexford hammering. They showed that when their tails are up they can score heavily, producing 1-8 between the 10th and 21st minutes, including a Declan Hannon goal.
The roaming David Reidy and Barry Nash contributed 0-7 between them, but Mikey Boyle’s flicked goal after 26 minutes stemmed the tide and limited the half-time deficit to 11 points.
Thereafter, Kerry were the dominant force.
They channelled the wind advantage into points on the board, although the flow of scores was slow. Five points came in the first 20 minutes, followed by an 11-minute scoreless period, before John Egan and Philip Lucid helped Kerry finish with a five-point flourish.
Kerry manager Ciarán Carey agreed it was too late to make an impact.
“As the game was going on, if we minimised the amount of mistakes we made, we probably could’ve got a result. I maintain we conceded 1-5 from our own mistakes in the first-half. That’s what cost us really.
“I was extremely proud in the first-half, bar the goal – the goal was of our own making and definitely four or five points they got. Myself and Mark (Foley), when we were speaking about it, said that outside of the booboos, they were doing very well.”
S Nolan (4 frees), J Egan (2 frees) (0-4 each); M Boyle (1-0); P Lucid (free), M O’Leary (0-2 each); J Goulding, P Kelly, C Harty (0-1 each).
D Hannon (1-4, 4 frees); B Nash (0-4); D Byrnes (2 frees, 1 65), D Reidy (0-3 each); P Browne (0-2); C Lynch, G Mulcahy, S Tobin (0-1 each).
M Stackpoole; S Weir, B Murphy, K Carmody; D Collins, J Griffin, T Murnane; P Kelly, T Casey; S Nolan, M O’Leary, C Harty; J Egan, M Boyle, J Goulding.
J Conway for Nolan (55), P Lucid for Goulding (63), J Diggins for Collins (73).
N Quaid; T Condon, R McCarthy, R English; D Morrissey, D Byrnes, S Hickey; D O’Donovan, P Browne; D Reidy, G O’Mahony, C Lynch; G Mulcahy, D Hannon, B Nash.
J Fitzgibbon for O’Donovan (29), T Morrissey for O’Mahony (30-ht, blood), P O’Brien for Reidy (51), S Tobin for Mulcahy (54), T Morrissey for Nash (59), P Ryan for Condon (61).
J Ryan (Tipperary).