Strong bench and fresh legs crucial, says Maher

Padraic Maher kept his cool yesterday, even when Limerick were stretching for the finishing line.

The big Tipperary defender could even pick out the time he took stock.

“I looked up and there were six points in it but there were 16, 17 minutes left which was plenty of time. We kept tagging on points and we didn’t go for goals too early. We used our experience near the finish to tag on a few scores and come out on top. We knew we had a fantastic bench and in the hot weather we knew we’d need them. We’re just delighted to get the win, there’s such competition for places.

“We’ll enjoy this win and knuckle down again on Tuesday night for training. There’s a long road ahead of us.”

Maher pointed to the quality of the opposition: “Limerick are an up and coming team, and they have lads to come back onto that team as well. They’ll be hard for anybody to beat.”

He was keener to talk about his own players, understandably.

“Brian O’Meara showed what he’s made of, he’s a big presence on the edge of the square and he can come out the field to win ball as well.

“But Shane McGrath, Seamie Callanan, Shane Bourke, all came on and did well. We know what we have on the sideline and there are even a few lads who were unlucky not to tog today, lads who’ll be mad to play the next day.”

Captain Paul Curran agreed it looked “dodgy” for Tipperary in the second-half: “It was looking dodgy because you could hear the Limerick supporters in full voice and I suppose we just dug deep. There were seven points in it at one stage and it ended up four so we were lucky.

“I’d say we unloaded the bench and fresh legs in helped to create a bit of space. The Limerick defence was great but I suppose they got a bit tired towards the end.”

Curran praised his colleagues’ character.

“Any time you play Limerick and they get the confidence up, it’s very hard to put them down but there’s good character in this team and we showed it. We had to — it would have been very disappointing if we’d gone home today defeated. We just kept sticking at it and got a few breaks and were lucky in the end. We knew if we didn’t change or do something we were going to go home defeated. We wanted to defend our Munster crown so we kept going and kept believing in ourselves. The day was so hot and the intensity wasn’t up as much and we know we have an awful lot to do. But give Limerick credit. They always show great heart and I thought their defence was excellent. We’ll just keep our heads down and go again.”


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