A shocking first-half no-show and failure to gain parity coming down the home stretch proved Limerick’s undoing in the Munster quarter-final defeat to Clare, according to manager John Brudair.
“The key was getting level,” suggested Brudair. “We put an awful lot of effort into getting level, but at no stage did we actually get there. If we had, and we did have opportunities to get there, I think we probably could have closed out the game because we were the dominant team in the second-half.
Limerick trailed 0-9 to 0-4 at the break and were fortunate to remain alive in the contest as Clare kicked seven first-half wides and failed to capitalise on two goal openings. Brudair was at a loss to explain the “flatness” of their first-half endeavours.
“Everything had gone well over the last couple of weeks in terms of preparation, but we just never seemed to get to the pace initially and we gave them easy scores. The second-half is how we wanted to play and how we expected we would play for the whole game. Sometimes you can’t explain why these performances happen.
“A lot of their first-half opportunities we just handed them through misplaced passes and lack of intensity. We didn’t have the energy levels in the first-half. We were standing off them and giving them easy shot options. In fairness, Gary Brennan kicked some very good scores and he really gave the home team a lift.
“In the second-half, we were far more intense in our tackling and we started turning over Clare. That is what you want.” The visitors were cleaned out both at midfield and in the breaking ball in the opening 35 minutes. A lack of energy was again cited by Brudair.
“Problems start to build when you are slightly off the pace. If you are slightly off the pace from the kick-out, if you are slightly off the pace from the breaking ball, it becomes a chore and that is what it looked like in the first-half that everything was a chore. In the second-half, we were far more active. Everyone was active looking for the ball.
“We fully expected to win coming down here tonight and we are very disappointed not to be facing Cork in a few weeks time.”
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