“The lesson must be, focus on the positives but make sure you learn from the experience, be a better team going forward,” so said former Limerick selector and team captain TJ Ryan yesterday, after the loss to Tipperary in Sunday’s Munster SHC first round in Thurles.
“We’ve had too many of these type of results over the last few years where we’ve failed to take out one of the big teams, even when we were in good positions to do so,” he continued.
“Go back to last year — the performance against Waterford in Munster was good, the performance against Dublin was good, the performance on Sunday was good but the one common denominator in those three games, unfortunately, was that we lost them all. At this stage you’d prefer to win even with a bad performance! It’s very important now for the sake of Limerick hurling that we progress from this.”
It’s important though, says TJ, that people shouldn’t be too critical.
“You couldn’t fault any of the players yesterday and I don’t think the management did a whole lot wrong either. It was the strength of the Tipp bench, that’s what made the difference in the final quarter — in fact I think that if it wasn’t for Bonner Maher yesterday, Tipp wouldn’t have won, he made that much of an impact.”
The next opportunity Limerick have will be in the qualifiers at the end of June — a good opportunity, he reckons. “We have to play our way through the qualifiers and put ourselves back in an All-Ireland quarter-final, and I believe this team can do that. One of the positives against Tipperary was that all six starting forwards scored from play, as did Declan Hannon when he came on, so the fire-power is there. A lot of them are very young too, which is also a positive.”
Meanwhile county secretary Mike O’Riordan denied there was any issue with the senior football management over the round of hurling championship games fixed for this weekend, ahead of Limerick’s Munster football opener against Clare on June 9.
“We’ve gone through all the club fixtures with both sets of management, hurling and football, agreed all the dates. We actually changed one round of the senior football championship to facilitate the football management team. We asked them if it was possible to play a round of the hurling championship this weekend and it wasn’t an issue. We have fixed most of the games for Friday and Saturday evening which gives the players an extra day or two extra to recover.”
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