Former Limerick captain Donal O’Grady expressed disappointment with Sunday’s second-half collapse against Waterford in the Allianz Hurling League semi-final, admitting he didn’t see it coming.
O’Grady also conceded Waterford’s sweeper system is far more advanced than Limerick, who are attempting to perfect a similar style of play. Limerick were a point clear at half-time in Thurles but were outgunned 1-6 to 3-12 in the second half, leaving the Shannonsiders without a competitive game until they play Cork or Tipperary in the Munster SHC semi-final on June 19.
And O’Grady, who retired from intercounty hurling last January, reflected: “The Waterford and Clare systems are very hard to counteract.
“In fairness to TJ (Ryan), Limerick did have to come up with something to counteract Waterford. I thought in the first half we were marginally better but that’s the first time we’ve seen Limerick play that sort of style. Waterford are into year three of that system and and you could see that they were better able to handle it over the 70 minutes.”
O’Grady insists Limerick had to come up with a strategy to cope with Waterford, and believes that matching up with the Déise man to man would not have worked out. He added: “If you go man on man, you’re going to end up with five backs, which is exactly what the opposition wants.
“Then you’d have more space for their forwards. If you’re in Thurles, Limerick or Croke Park, there’s a lot of space with six backs not to mind playing with five. In the modern game, it’s a dangerous one to play... Waterford, who have stuck to that system for the last few years. It suits them, they’ve bought into it and they’re a fairly well drilled unit.”
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