Six lessons to take from the League semis in Thurles

Cats’ talent pool lacks strength and depth, and five more things we learned...

Clare have more depth than Kilkenny

No, not as bold a statement as you might think. Brian Cody hasn’t been fond of using his bench all that much in recent times giving substance to the theory that the pool of talent at his disposal is as shallow as it has ever been under his management.

Without the Fennellys, Conor Fogarty, Paul Murphy and Eoin Larkin, Kilkenny were severely weakened. Adding in young bucks Robert Lennon and James Maher and his options were significantly limited. Clare were themselves without Shane O’Donnell, Seadhna Morey, Patrick Donnellan, David McInerney, Peter Duggan and Shane Golden but it mattered little to them.

Limerick must go their own way

Twice Limerick have faced tactically astute teams in Clare and Waterford in recent weeks and twice they have been found to be the inferior side. After yesterday’s game, the question being asked was how bad must Dublin have been to lose to them in Parnell Park last Saturday week. Against Clare, they attempted to replicate their set-up but were perplexed by how the Banner forwards changed positions. They attempted to do some of that themselves yesterday and it worked for a while but again the extent of their tactics appeared to be imitating what was in front of them.

Goals makes games

What a difference it was to see goals in Thurles. For most of the spring, we’ve been deprived of them but Waterford hit Limerick for two and could have had more.

Clare and Kilkenny spoiled us with the feast they provided. Games don’t need goals to be exciting but if they are to be riveting, if they are to captivate those in the ground and at home then they need twists and turns. Nothing comes close to having the immediate impact of a ball finding the net.

Division 1A is where it’s at

No surprise there, but Limerick had the lesson that Division 1B rusts your touch writ large for them. When Waterford started getting scores and pushing up, cutting down on space and time, Limerick struggled, and TJ Ryan will know that the sooner they get top-flight competition year round, the better.

Waterford are getting harder mentally

Déise boss Derek McGrath pointed out yesterday that his side are getting better in focusing on the task at hand: “The reality is that we’re probably playing that game a bit longer than Limerick. Our guys are used to playing that way and psychologically they’re getting stronger in terms of when it breaks down, or listening to the crowd - that they believe in it. They like to mix it, too, we’re conscious of who we are and where we’re from in terms of the tradition, and we’re trying to integrate that as well. But you can’t push that too hard, because if you do you end up nowhere.”

Waterford’s system is still tricky to play against

TJ Ryan acknowledged yesterday that what worked for one team doesn’t always work for Waterford. “It (Limerick’s approach) worked in Dublin - pushing on and leaving space for Waterford wasn’t an option and it had been documented that Waterford couldn’t score goals, and we had hoped that we’d be able to keep them out and make this a battle. But once they got the goals in the second half it made it very difficult for us. You have to credit them with that but if we look at it again I just think we’ll be disappointed with the goals we gave away.”


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