Limerick U21 hurlers have the answers to Galway examination.
Munster champions, Limerick, defeated Galway last Saturday in front of a crowd of over 6000 in Semple stadium. Going into injury time the sides were level but Limerick’s impressive forward line proved the difference in the end, scoring four unanswered points to book their All Ireland spot.
Going into the game, Pat Donnelly’s side would have seen no competitive action from Galway as they had yet to play a game in the competition. In any case it was always going to be a tough challenge for this Limerick side given the talent the Galway side had at their disposal.
Reviewing the game with Sporting Limerick, the Weekly Observer’s Matt O’Callaghan says Limerick overcame a sluggish start to emerge on top.
“In the first half in particular, Galway hit the ground running and certainly if you were looking at the first half and you didn’t know which team was coming in cold you could have said it was Limerick because Galway got off to a very very good start. They certainly asked some questions of Limerick.”
It was evident from the off that this was going to be Limerick’s biggest challenge of the year. Galway represented a progression for Pat Donnelly’s side who have seen improvements in performance across each game they have played this year. Despite not being overly stressed by Clare or Tipperary, Limerick maintained their focus and concentration to overcome a strong Cork side.
Galway represented a further progression for Limerick and O’Callaghan feels Limerick were put to the pin of their collars to overcome the talent Galway had on offer.
“They had the exceptional players up front like Tom Monaghan and Conor Whelan which Limerick dealt with very well you would have to say overall.
“Pat Donnelly will be absolutely delighted, and his management team, they’ve got to be delighted with the resilience that Limerick showed.”
Galway threw down a serious threat but Limerick had the answers, kept their composure and refused to panic when things got tough. O’Callaghan gives a lot of credit to how Donnelly’s men reacted when under serious pressure from the Tribesmen.
“When the most serious questions were asked about 2 minutes from the end, Galway drew level, they provided an answer, not just an answer but an emphatic answer, and it’s a very very good sign of a team”
Pat Donnelly expected Galway to try and impose themselves physically on Limerick and while they certainly did that, they also brought huge intensity to the game throughout and cause Limerick serious problems.
O’Callaghan makes the point that this Galway side had no games in preparation for a semi final tie which is far from ideal and admits it could have been a totally different game if they did
“You would have to say what kind of vibrant force Galway would be had they a game or two under their belts”
Facing Limerick now is a whole new challenge in Kilkenny. The cats dismantled Derry in the other semi-final on Saturday with a scoreline of 8-35 to 0-07 winning by an incredible 50 points. Quite simply one can take nothing from such a non event. No disrespect to Derry, but you would imagine Kilkenny would have faced a greater challenge in an A versus B training game.
Matt O’Callaghan feels Limerick are well placed to have a right go at the Cats and atone for the heartbreak of their 2014 All Ireland Minor Final defeat.
“Kilkenny is probably the biggest challenge of all, there’s unfinished business going back there to 2014, we just cannot get carried away that they’re absolute world beaters because they’re from Kilkenny, that tends to affect some counties facing kilkenny”
O’Callaghan “has the utmost confidence in this Limerick team” and believes they have at least a “50/50” chance going into the tie. It’s set to be a thrilling a final in Thurles on September 9th with a 3pm throw in.
You can listen to Matt’s full interview here