Limerick defeat Tipp

Yesterday was ‘hot’ in every sense in the Gaelic Grounds, the temperature in the stand was high and this was matched on the field of play. Hats off to Limerick, they hurled well, they brought passion and attitude, as they always do, and they also added a steadiness which before they may have lacked.

It was a throw back to the 90s, when Munster championship was a roller coaster, where 5 of the 6 counties could win a Munster title. As if we were doubting, the Munster championship matters, all you needed was to look at the reaction a full time. Cork/Clare next week, and then early July probably in Thurles for the final, the square will be full with anticipation. Even though from a Tipperary perspective it was very disappointing yesterday, I am looking forward to the remainder of the Munster championship.

Now to the game; Numbers 1 to 8 hurled well for Tipp, but it was further up the field where things went astray. Coming into the game I was worried about the Limerick two corner forwards but the two Tipperary corner backs were magnificent. In fact all the six backs did reasonably well along with Cummins in the goal. Brendan Maher also did ok at midfield.

Our captain is struggling with form and did well to even last to half time. Our forwards are trying to place a very precise game where there is very small margin of error. When it works for them it looks impressive but in a sense there needs to be a greater balance to what they are trying to do. They are weak in the basic art of gaining primary possession, something that we have known for some time, even Buggy O’Meara struggled when he came in to gain possession, which would be one of his supposed strengths! Can Eamon O’Shea improve this or does he ignore it and just try to play good low balls in to the forwards? It was only our first game but from now on its knock-out so I don’t imagine him changing style. If you were trying to counteract this style it is fairly clear that you put massive pressure on the Tipp backs midfielders so that they can’t play a good ball to their forwards, if you succeed in doing that we(Tipp) don’t really have a plan B, i.e. we struggle to win 50:50 balls in our forwards! But in saying this, some of Tipps play looked very close to being just bang on and if they do get it right, they will be difficult to beat.

When John O’Dywer was picking up his 1-3, Noel McGrath was very central to this, he looked to be orchestrating things from centre forward, but then the management changed Bonner back in from wing forward and Noel back to the wing where his influence on the game dwindled out. Would be interesting to hear the logic behind this move!

So its off to the qualifiers for us and a positive from this is the focus will be taken off us for a period now, which should allow the squad and management work things out. Interesting times and now a real challenge for Eamon O’Shea and co. Best of luck to them!

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