Slow Start & Harsh Lessons in Limerick’s heavy loss to Cork

Limerick were the subject of a 21-point defeat to Cork on Saturday evening in the Munster Football Championship semi-final.

Running out 3-18 to 0-6 winners, Cork had the game sewn up inside twenty minutes with the score at 3-6 to 0-0.

With Limerick now headed for the qualifiers, we look at the key talking points to emerge from the game.

Slow start kills Limerick

Within the opening minute, Limerick could have found themselves a goal to the good against Cork in Pairc Ui Rinn. Sean McSweeney’s goalbound efforts were both inches from crossing the whitewash. Minutes later, Brian Hurley would make no mistake to give his side the opening goal. He would double his tally a minute later as Cork raced into a 2-1 to 0-0 lead.

Cork’s Brian Hurley scores the first of his two goals in their Munster Football Championship semi-final win against Limerick

It would be twenty minutes before Limerick opened their account through Seamus O’Carroll but by that time the game was effectively over as a contest with Limerick trailing 3-6 to 0-0 prior to the score. Where Limerick were solid in the opening half against Tipp, they fell apart in Pairc ui Rinn with Cork taking full advantage.

In Thurles, Limerick’s strength and conditioning was on full display as they took the game to Tipperary in the second half, outscoring their opponents 3-3 to 1-2. Limerick didn’t get the chance to repeat this performance with the game over as a contest at the half.

In the qualifiers Limerick need to ensure they start strong and get a foothold in the game as Cork demonstrated just how quickly things can spiral out of control.

Limerick must learn from lessons

Little was expected of Limerick coming into the Tipperary game after a league campaign that wielded just two wins, with those coming against Waterford and London. However, the results were not reflective of Limerick who were within a score of winning the majority of those games with wayward shooting proving costly throughout.

In Thurles, they rectified this and came out deserving winners, putting all they had learned into practice. Following the Cork loss, Billy Lee’s side will need to do the same. They have proven adept at learning from failures before and must ensure they do so again entering the qualifiers.

Limerick senior football manager Billy Lee looks on as his side fall to Cork in the Munster Football Championship semi-final

In Pairc Ui Rinn, Limerick were far too porous down the centre of the field with the concession of three goals in the first twenty minutes unacceptable at this stage. Falling behind, prevented the likes of Iain Corbett and Colm McSweeney from getting forward with the side focused on damage limitations.

Limerick are at their best when attacking and defending as a unit. To do so in the qualifiers, they will have to analyse where it went so badly wrong against Cork and figure out a solution before a promising campaign peters out.

Cork written off too early

A year ago if one was to say Limerick would be beaten by Cork 3-18 to 0-6, not many would have disagreed strongly such was the form of each side. However, coming into this game, Limerick’s excellent victory in Thurles against Tipperary coupled with Cork’s relegation to Division 3 of the league saw many tipping Limerick to cause another upset.

As things panned out, strong favourites Cork lived up to their billing with a convincing win, with the game over within the opening quarter of an hour. While Limerick failed to perform, Cork did show aspects of a side on the rise.

Ruairi Deane and Cillian Fahy battle for possession in the Munster Football Championship semi-final between Cork and Limerick in Pairc Ui Rinn

They may have been written off in some quarters after their league performances but yesterday’s result will go some way in proving the doubters wrong. Ultimately, the Munster final with Kerry will say more about the state of Cork football, but they seem t be on the right track at the moment in the championship regardless of their league form.

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