Galway boss Henry Shefflin queried some of Thomas Walsh’s officiating in the second half but had no qualms about the result.
Shefflin and Limerick coach Paul Kinnerk were booked after a sideline argument, while the Kilkenny great was clearly frustrated with several decisions made by the Waterford referee.
“I did feel there was a 10-minute, 12-minute spell in the second half there, after we got the goal, that there were a few marginal calls that didn’t go our way, yes.
“But look, I don’t think they (frees awarded to Limerick) all went over the bar either and I think in the overall context of the game... you know, it comes and goes a little bit, to be fair.”
He continued: “I do know we had a very good opportunity to beat the double All-Ireland champions, and we just came up short.”
Not that he anticipated 19 wides but Shefflin expected there would be a few when the plan was to fire from distance.
“Our shooting efficiency let us down. We knew we’d have to take a lot of shots from mid-range, and we knew that was going to be the case, but obviously you’re hoping some of them go over. And then I think we coughed up a few silly points in the first half, and all those kind of things come back to bite you a little bit.
“But look, to be fair to Limerick, they’re true champions. We really went at them, and it was only that last phase – their bench obviously made a bit of an impact and pulled away a little bit.”
Shefflin recalled it was the league win over Limerick in TUS Gaelic Grounds in February that cemented his belief in the players. Up to that point, he wasn’t sure of them, he acknowledged.
“I think when you go into a group of people that I went into, and obviously ye would have been around some of the performances last year and you’re kind of saying, ‘Where are this team at?’.
“I’ve often referenced it to the lads, I probably wasn’t quite sure myself. But we went down to Limerick in the national league, and that night I came out of Limerick saying, ‘Jesus, do you know what, there’s something in this group. And I think we can say that again today.”
Although careful not to say this display will be a springboard for next season, he spoke of his and coach Richie O’Neill’s growing bond with the group.
“I think when we started first, Covid was very much to the fore but the relationship between the group became very, very strong and even for myself and Richie, our connection with that group of people and the county board has become strong over that period. That’s what it should be about.
“It’s a sport and you go out and give it absolutely everything. I’m happy because their families, wives and partners have put in a lot of effort as well and they get to see the performance on the field.”
Interestingly, Shefflin spoke of the players contributing more to their clubs over the coming months.
“We said to them, it's important now that they go back to their clubs. I saw some of the club championship games last year in Galway and it wasn't great. I think it's important now that they go back and they try and lift some of the club players and try and increase the performance levels of club players next of all coming through and feeding into the county squad.”