Horan: 'No hold barred' meeting crucial to Limerick revival

Limerick senior football manager Maurice Horan has revealed that a meeting in the aftermath of their exit from the Munster Championship got their campaign back on track.

Limerick senior football manager Maurice Horan has revealed that a meeting in the aftermath of their exit from the Munster Championship got their campaign back on track.

The Shannonsiders suffered an 11-point defeat to Kerry in their Munster semi-final clash on June 4, before turning their season around with three qualifier wins in as many weeks.

The turnaround saw them qualify for the county's first ever All-Ireland quarter-final. And despite yesterday's 1-20 to 0-10 loss to Kerry, Horan still has reasons to be cheerful.

"The positives are that the last three Championship performances for Limerick have been outstanding and nothing short of it," he said.

"We were about to completely break apart as a panel after the Munster semi-final against Kerry at the Gaelic Grounds. We had a meeting the following week and it was no holds barred.

"We all talked about whether we wanted to have a lengthy career in inter-county football, be it as management, personnel or players.

"We said that was the choice facing us at the time. I think we showed a lot of spirit and resourcefulness, creativity, in terms of players playing out of position."

Limerick's run of qualifier victories over Offaly, Waterford and Wexford was all the more impressive given that cruciate victim John Galvin, Jim O'Donovan, Eoghan Joy, James Kelly, John Cooke and dual players Stephen Lucey and Mark O'Riordan were missing from the starting line-ups.

Lucey's return for the quarter-final lasted just seven minutes. A hamstring injury forced him to limp off with O'Riordan coming on in his place.

While Horan's team may have lacked experience - and that was very evident against Kerry - Championship newcomers like Tom Lee, John Riordan and Barry Fitzpatrick, the captain from Monaleen, did step up to the mark.

Young goalkeeper Brian Scanlon, who made his SFC debut last year, has established himself as first choice, and there have been encouraging scoring returns from Stephen Kelly (0-19), Ger Collins (2-13), Ian Ryan (1-14) and Seamus O'Carroll (2-4).

Horan added: "There was maturity in terms of guys who hadn't played for Limerick previously. John Riordan in his first year playing inter-county football has marked Ciaran McManus, Paul Galvin and Colm Morris - he has done a great job on all of them.

"Our last four Championship losses have been to Kerry, Kerry, Cork and Kerry, and that's over the last two years. So we have to hold out heads up, we are playing against the very best and we are competing."

The Mayo native managed the Limerick Under-21s and served as a selector under former senior boss Mickey Ned O'Sullivan before being appointed to the role last October.

Ex-Nemo Rangers manager Ephie Fitzgerald has proved very effective as a coach and selector, along with Newcastlewest's Joe Lee.

It had been widely reported last autumn that the Horan-led management was ratified for a one-year term. But at the November meeting of the Limerick Football Board, it was confirmed that their appointment is for two years.

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