Former Limerick manager Tom Ryan has warned a repeat of last month’s woeful performance against Tipperary will lead to “mutiny” in the county.
Ryan does not expect Limerick to be too much troubled when they travel today to face Westmeath, where he was at the helm in 2004.
But the Ballybrown man has concerns about how many U21 players are being thrown in at the deep end and the lack of leadership in the group.
“Everything in that game was a worry for Limerick hurling people. If that performance occurs again and people see such a collapse and non-performance inside the wire and on the sideline, there will be a mutiny. A serious reaction because they just won’t be tolerated by Limerick supporters anymore.
“From my information, people inside the camp are disillusioned. They’re looking for guidance and they don’t know what to do. This time it isn’t hurling at all but leadership. I would be re-jigging the team and making serious changes.
"Kevin Downes should be starting, good experienced men like him. Shane Dowling started the last day but he’s been left on the sideline in the past. That shouldn’t be happening. Let the ball into Dowling at full-forward, into Downes further out and stop this tippy-tappy hurling.”
Ryan knows the success of the U21s is promising a lot but he would bank on the seasoned players for the time being.
“We’ve never had the talent we have now and yet all that’s been said about Cian Lynch is negative. He’s a serious talent but he’s not being handled right. We played four of the U21s the last day against Tipp and not one of them functioned.
"Youth can’t be used as an excuse. We’ve to come to grips with things on the sideline. Our most experienced side should be starting.”
As for this evening, Ryan expects Limerick to play with a bit of abandonment. “I’m hoping a line can be drawn through what happened against Tipperary and they won’t ever be as disorganised again. I’m hoping we’ll see a totally different performance against Westmeath.
“I think Limerick will be able to hurl freer now unless Westmeath shut down the forwards completely. That’s where experience is needed most. Westmeath are in a good place and have had a reasonably good year so far but this is crucial for Limerick.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved