Limerick aiming to cause a Munster shock in Thurles

Limerick’s senior football team are looking for their first Munster Championship win in seven years when they travel to Thurles to play Tipperary.

The quarter final clash sees Lee pit his wits against former Limerick manager Liam Kearns.

Tipperary will go into the game as strong favourites but Lee is hopeful that his youthful side can spring what would be a surprise victory.

Lee’s charges had a positive start to their league campaign with victories over London and Waterford but followed those wins up with five defeats in their remaining Division Four games.

McGrath Cup Final, Gaelic Grounds, Limerick 22/1/2017 Limerick vs Kerry Limerick manager Billy Lee Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

However, Limerick were competitive in the majority of those defeats and Lee is optimistic that the positives from the league can be brought into the Munster Championship.

“The feedback we seem to be getting is that we were a lot more competitive this year. Certainly we have built more of a squad and we didn’t have that last year.

“We don’t have Paul White around at the moment due to injury and he was one of our better performers last year.  

“It’s fair to say that we wouldn’t have been able to sustain that kind of loss last year but a lot of the lads have stepped up so that’s positive.

“There is still a journey to go and there are two games that stick out to me from the league campaign.

“The Leitrim and Wexford games. One both days we should have won. We didn’t.

“I don’t think it was down to anything that Leitrim or Wexford were doing, it was more down to what we weren’t doing and that was mainly our finishing.”

Munster GAA Senior Football Championship Quarter-Final, Gaelic Grounds, Limerick 19/5/2018 Limerick vs Clare Limerick’s Sean O’Dea with Kieran Malone of Clare Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry

Limerick last met Tipperary at this stage back in 2014 where Tipperary came out of the LIT Gaelic Grounds with a 2-14 to 1-11 victory.

Tipperary have improved since then and reached the All-Ireland semi final in 2016 where they fell to a five point loss to May.

Kearns’ Tipperary side finished bottom of Division Two of the Allianz Football League in 2019 but they were unlucky to do so in many peoples eyes and Lee is sure that Limerick will face a formidable challenge when they take to field at Semple Stadium at 7pm tonight.

“We are definitely looking forward to it and it’s a challenge needless to say. Tipperary have been in Division Two of the league in the last number of years and were a bit unfortunate to come down this year.

“Having been talking to Liam, they had a lot of injuries and it probably didn’t help their cause.

“It’s a formidable challenge for us but that’s what you want to pitch yourself against, to see if we are improving, are we getting there and where we can land.

How many championship wins do we have this decade alone? It’s been a trying time for Limerick football but we have got to keep chipping and banging away.

McGrath Cup Semi-Final, Rathkeale, Co. Limerick 6/1/2019 Limerick vs Cork Limerick Manager Billy Lee Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

“It’s incumbent on all of us in the sport in Limerick to keep building and encouraging lads to play.

“There is more to sport at this level than actually winning. There’s a lot to be gained from it on a personal level and a professional level and to challenge yourself against the best players in the country against the different counties.

“It’s a huge commitment and everyone realises that at this point. From my point of view it’s a step too far but life evolves and things move on and I don’t know where it’s ever going to stop. One would hope that we can get fellas back in again and add to the squad.

“Lets hope that the lads that have been around the squad in the last year or so add to their development and I think that you will have a squad for the next two to three years or four to five years that could take us back on a bit of a journey.”

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