Manager TJ Ryan delighted as Limerick put recent controversies behind them
‘Winning takes talent . . . repeating it takes character’
Limerick manager TJ Ryan celebrates with Gavin O’Mahony after the win over Tipperary yesterday. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.
Sometimes, you’ve just got to tip the hat. All through the build-up, Limerick’s players and management had let it be known that the consensus that pushed a Tipp win here yesterday wasn’t just wrong, it was lacking in manners and courtesy. Write those sort of cheques in the abstract and your performance on the day has to cash them. Job done.
“When you win, everything you do looks like the right decision,” said TJ Ryan afterwards. “But in fairness to the lads they showed tremendous character. We were maybe going on about it for the last couple of weeks the fact that we were still Munster champions and that crown was still with us. Maybe people had dismissed us, even some of ye here – talking about Tipp v Clare Munster finals and stuff. The lads took that.
“Defending champions in all sports are usually hard to beat. We brought that to the table. Winning takes talent, which the lads showed last year; repeating it takes character. I thought we showed tremendous character.
“It might have been internal as well as external, even from my own point of view. When the shenanigans started a number of weeks ago it was easy to say it was a kind of a Limerick thing. But in fairness to the lads they kept their powder dry, they didn’t say anything and they gave me a great response, and I’ll be forever indebted to them for that.”
ShenanigansThe shenanigans, of course, was the fall-out from the end of the league and the departure of Donal O’Grady. If any measure of forgiveness can be argued due to those who wrote off Limerick’s chances, the very fact of a managerial hoo-ha six weeks before championship ought to be it. Their dynamo midfielder Paul Browne said that it had been a speedbump but no more.
“It was a hindrance, no doubt. But we just put our heads down and after we got that email on the Sunday night we came back in and we trained as hard as we ever did. It made no difference to us whatsoever coming up to the game.
“You wouldn’t know anything had ever happened inside in the camp.
“Today was all about the players. We’re training morning, noon and night since November. Four, five, six, seven days a week. We’re together and we wanted to prove it to ourselves. This was for us, this is our victory. I’m delighted for every player in the dressing room.”
Hard to explainFor Tipp, a fourth consecutive championship defeat was difficult for Eamon O’Shea to explain away. The fact that Shane Dowling was able to fill his boots to the tune of 1-9 from frees on top of his crucial late goal from play was one place to look for answers.
“Yeah, we conceded a lot of frees,” said O’Shea. “We’ve worked so hard to get our free count down but I think it’s just when we came under pressure, it came back a little bit. I find it hard to make sense of the game, especially so soon after it.
“But I absolutely feel that they gave everything. Now we’re here having to work out how we get over the line. And that’s the challenge for me. But we’re up for it. There’s not a feeling in the dressing room that it’s the season ended. It’s more that we have to go back and get things right and have another shot at it.
“And we will do that. We absolutely will. There’s fight in us. There’s definitely fight in us. Even though we didn’t get over the line we will at some stage, we will at some stage make an impact in terms of what we want to do.
“Maybe we searched for the winner and searched for the fourth point and we pushed it a bit. And when you push it a bit you get anxious and when you get anxious you make bad decisions, like striking the ball into the goalie’s hands when you should hold onto it.”