Limerick’s players didn’t need the dust to settle on their six-point win over Tipperary to realise the margin didn’t flatter them in the slightest. When they return to training this evening, John Kiely may even use it as a stick to beat them with.
But they won’t need much reminding. Soon after the final whistle, the likes of Kyle Hayes and Diarmuid Byrnes were acknowledging they could have been better.
“I said from the very start that this campaign was going to suit us,” said Hayes. “It’s more games, a young team and this game will stand to us and hopefully we’ll push it on again.”
Man-of-the-match Byrnes agreed they could have put Tipperary to the sword earlier than they did. “Possibly, we had a lot of wides (13). “It’s something to work on. But I’d always look on the positive side, we’re creating chances. It’s all about composure and just getting that score.”
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Hayes, who made his championship debut last year, says they’re “a different team” to what they were in 2017 when they quickly exited the Munster and All-Ireland competitions.
When Jason Forde scored an equalising goal midway through the second half, Limerick did not buckle. “It was a bit of a shock to the system but we have been in every situation at this stage. We knew the fight was in us.”
Tipperary in the Gaelic Grounds, if Hayes is truthful, was the best draw possible for Limerick.
“We targeted this game from the start of the year. It was ideal playing Tipp, probably the strongest team in it, at home. We’re not getting carried away. We’ll put the heads down on Tuesday and get going again.”
They knew they had the measure of Tipperary too following their Division 1 semi-final, which went to extra-time. “It’s always easier when the team beats you the first day around because you have that bit of a motivation.”
The two-week break to their next clash against Cork is interpreted as an advantage in one sense - it’s regarded as the ideal gap between matches - and an disadvantage in another - Limerick would bring with them plenty of momentum to Páirc Uí Chaoimh next weekend.
Hayes looks on the bright side. “It won’t do us any harm (not playing). We’ve the extra week to prepare for Cork and we’ll take all the time we can get before we go back onto the pitch.”
And Byrnes? “People will say we have momentum now, it could easily have went against us (on Sunday) as well and we’d still have the week’s break. When we got the win, people are saying it’s ideal but we’ll face Cork now and have another massive challenge in two weeks’ time.”
Byrnes was happy to be part of a half-back line that on Sunday was impressive in cutting out supply to Tipperary’s inside line. “As a half-back line, you don’t want balls going over your head and stuff like that and that was something we focused on, their runners through the middle, they could cut you open in two seconds.
“It’s something we worked on the last couple of days in training and it worked well for us.”
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