TJ Ryan was a good deal happier than Jimmy Barry-Murphy on Saturday night.
No wonder: his 14 men had just fought out a deserved draw against Cork, and the Limerick boss was delighted with their effort and commitment.
“In fairness, looking at the workrate all over the field, you’d have to be happy with it.
“The game looked like it was going away from us, it looked like a draw — then it looked like it was going away from us again. I’m delighted to get something out of it — I felt we deserved something out of it.
“I take my hat off to the lads who played, it was an incredible effort.”
The manager played down the tactical nous they showed in defence to compress Cork: “There’s not a lot you could do but ask for effort. We got a bit of a grip around our own half-back line and that gave us a platform. We used the ball well and got our frees, which was vital. Early on in the game we had some poor wides and they were skinning us.
“We were probably fortunate they didn’t take a goal chance they got in the first half, and we got it back to three points at half-time, which was important.”
Ryan didn’t see what Graeme Mulcahy had done to get sent off, but he had no issues with how the game was officiated.
“I didn’t see what happened with Graeme, I asked the TV lads but they didn’t get it on camera either.”
Ryan referred to last week’s debate on red and yellow cards in the game: “There’s been plenty of talk this week about physicality in the game, there were plenty of hits tonight and you could argue one way or the other with some of the frees, of course you could, but I was happy enough (with the referee).”
Acknowledging coach Donal O’Grady’s local knowledge (“absolutely vital”) Ryan pointed out that the result has implications for the division as a whole. “Scoring difference will decide the top team, so every game is important now. The next day is important to us, we’re at home to Antrim. The division is competitive, which might seem like a cliche, but it’s true.”
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