Declan Ryan wasn’t beating around the bush with the media after his Tipperary side had beaten Limerick with a late flurry of scores.
“It was looking dodgy from a Tipp point of view with 15 minutes left. Limerick were hurling with their tails up, with typical Limerick spirit, but our lads kept battling away and we tagged on a few points. I’m delighted with the way we finished.”
Tipperary were slow off the mark yesterday. Why? “Limerick came with great hope and anytime Limerick and Tipp play you know Limerick will battle to the very last, as they did today. I’m delighted with the way our guys battled there and showed a lot of spirit.
“The substitutions we made worked reasonably well, all the lads that came on made a huge contribution, they added a lot of energy to the game.
“It was very warm out there and it was great they had the impact they did.”
Ryan wasn’t slow to make changes, but didn’t ascribe that to the experience garnered last year.
“You’ve to read the game as you see it and make the changes when you feel they’re needed. Some days they work, some days they don’t,’’ he said.
“Patrick (Maher) has great energy about him, Shane (McGrath) has been going very well in training in the last three weeks. I’m delighted with what they added when they came on. We’ll have to look at this game again; we don’t have a great record down in Cork in recent years, but we have a lot to play for.”
Having been seven points down at one stage, Ryan acknowledged that victory would help the spirit of the group. “I think these guys will know that if they’re within a couple of scores of the opposition they have a chance. I think they showed fantastic spirit, all the hard work done since January paid off and they were travelling very well in the last seven or eight minutes.”
And of course, speaking of the group, there was one man a lot of Tipp followers wanted to see among “these guys”, as Ryan put it.
“It’s great to have Lar back, he adds great value to it but he only has a week under his belt, he has a lot of catching up to do.”
And those rumours of unrest in the camp? Ryan was unequivocal about the atmosphere.
“Fantastic,” he said. “The last four weeks were the best I’ve seen since getting involved in management.”
Now for the next four weeks.
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