Writing in this week’s Irish Examiner, Anthony Daly expressed his disappointment with the lack lustre display from the Limerick team.
Just over a week ago, a Limerick minor team trained by Anthony Daly were beaten by the reigning All-Ireland Champion’s Tipperary courtesy of a last minute goal. Although losing the game, Daly outlined that manager John Mulqueen praised the players. After the game he said,
We didn’t win but we played the Limerick way — with fire and passion and real intensity. And we had a real cut.
On Sunday, the senior hurlers had a chance to reach their first league final since 2006. They were pitted against Galway who had beaten them by 3 points just a month ago in the Gaelic Grounds in a dead rubber league game.
Expectations were high surrounding this young Limerick team as manager John Kiely continued to integrate his All Ireland winning U21s team into the senior ranks.
However, what followed on Sunday was a lifeless display from the Treaty men. Limerick were second to every ball and never looked like winning the game.
It wasn’t the fact that Galway were more skilful, it was Limerick’s lack of work rate, intensity and desire that was painfully evident.
Having worked in the Limerick underage set up for a number of years now, Daly has a greater insight into Limerick hurling than most.
The Clare man also played many times against Limerick in the 1990’s, a time when Limerick and Daly’s Clare were two of the dominant teams in Ireland.
Yet what he saw on Sunday was a far cry from what he expects from every Limerick hurling team.
There was no life in the players but the most damning indictment of the performance was the lack of intensity they brought to the fight.
I don’t think Limerick can play any other way but there was none of that yesterday. What summed it up for me was a sideline cut Gearóid Hegarty stood over in the first half. It took him seven seconds before he took the cut because nobody was moving or giving him an option. What was wrong with going route one?
Then when Limerick went route one to Hegarty with the breeze behind them in the second half, it was old style route one — headless stuff, that mostly ended in wides.
Daly among others, feels Limerick perform best when they are playing at a high intensity. It suits Limerick to be underdogs, putting up a fight to the opposition, working hard, hooking and blocking. Yet this was absent from this performance.
Whilst you can argue that it was only the league, Limerick should be taking every advantage of any competitive game that comes their way. If they perform as they did on Sunday in the Munster Championship, it will be a very short Summer for the players and supporters alike.
Yet, Limerick have time to rectify this. They will be hurting from the performance and the criticism it was met with and when they face Clare in the Munster Championship, expect to see a different Limerick performance.