HomeFootballTipperary ‘just hurling in hope’ – Liam Cahill admits after Limerick defeat

Tipperary ‘just hurling in hope’ – Liam Cahill admits after Limerick defeat


Related stories


For Tipperary and Liam Cahill, it was an entirely different type of trauma.

Casey will hopefully get back on the pitch and back to his best, but it won’t be any day soon after the gruesome-looking injury that distorted his ankle just after he fired home Limerick’s second goal at the TUS Gaelic Grounds.

The crowd of 33,475 – the overwhelming majority, it seemed, supporting the four-in-a-row All-Ireland champions – realised almost straight away the extent of Casey’s injury, even before he was taken off on a stretcher and removed to hospital.

It put an obvious downer on an otherwise rampant second-half performance.

This is what Limerick do against opponents who struggle to match their relentless application, aggression and focus – they soften you up, then go for the kill.

But even that fails to excuse the poverty of Tipperary’s non-performance.

The misfiring manner of their league semi-final exit to Clare had already raised some doubts among Premier diehards.

They’ll be even more alarmed after yesterday’s second half – now management have just days to fix it ahead of Saturday’s must-win showdown with Waterford.

For Cahill, a return to his old Walsh Park stomping ground puts everything into stark focus.

“It’s a game we just have to throw off the shackles and have a good think about our personnel for the week,” he said.

“There’ll have to be consequences after today. Some players, it just didn’t run for them, and they’re going to have to make way for the next fella to give them a chance.”

Question is: why had they been so flat? Even their manager appeared at a loss to know why.

“We have six days now to turn it around, turn the page and try and get out heads around what will be a very difficult assignment in Walsh Park,” Cahill reflected.

“Again, our energy levels, I cannot understand it. We just seem to be that little bit off the pace. I’m looking in at a team that were just hurling in hope.

“That is an awful place to be when you are coming into the lions’ den here, to the All-Ireland champions, to their backyard … you need to be absolutely convinced that you are going to take that ball, whether it be in a ruck or out of the air or taking on your man. You just have to be so sure of what you are about.

“Again I say it, these boys are training fierce well, but I don’t know what the case is of then coming to the match-day field, it just doesn’t seem to be happening for them.”

For Kiely, there is the luxury of knowing his players already have a maximum four points banked and a longer break before visiting a pointless Cork on Saturday week.

But what pleased him most was the huge game-on-game improvement from the brush with calamity in Clare.

“I thought our energy levels up top were much better today, and our accuracy in our pick-ups, our passing, our ball retention,” Kiely noted.

“Our tackling was more accurate; our shooting was more accurate. It was a really good improvement from last week to this, and I’m glad because the boys put a real emphasis themselves on it this week, what they wanted to go after.

“What they did with Paul [Kinnerk] this week was really brought to the pitch today.”

​To begin with, though, it was still far from perfect. The first half had contained far too many errors, from both sides, to ever achieve any kind of rhythm or flow.

There could have been an early goal for Casey, only for Kyle Hayes to be wrongly indicted for an alleged ‘pick-up’ in the build-up, while Seán Hayes was denied a 22nd-minute goal for Tipp [when they trailed by just a point] thanks to the smothering advances of goalkeeper Nickie Quaid.

Still, even though Limerick belatedly found their mojo with six of the last seven points before the break, there was at least the prospect of a decent second 35 minutes with Tipp trailing by five, 0-12 to 0-7, but with the second-half wind to come.

Instead, they lost the next 20 minutes right up to Casey’s goal by 2-10 to 0-6. Game, set and 15-point mismatch.

Aaron Gillane’s thunderbolt goal on 44 minutes, pouncing on a break after Diarmaid Byrnes’ free fell short, appeared to suck all life and hope from the visitors.

They trailed by four points beforehand; 11 minutes later, when Casey pounced on a ball over the top to hammer home from an angle, the gap was out to 15.

“We’re not going to take this lying down,” Cahill promised. “There’s still six points on offer, people have to remember. They’re three big games. We’ll be underdogs in every single one of them.”

SCORERS – Limerick: A Gillane 1-8 (0-7f); P Casey 1-2; A English 0-4; C O’Neill, T Morrissey 0-3 each; D Byrnes (2f), D Reidy 0-2 each; K Hayes, W O’Donoghue, D Ó Dálaigh 0-1 each. Tipperary: J Forde 0-9 (8f); G O’Connor (1f), M Kehoe 0-2 each; E Connolly, A Tynan, P Maher, N McGrath, J Ryan 0-1 each.

LIMERICK: N Quaid 7; S Finn 8, D Morrissey 7, B Nash 6; D Byrnes 7, D Hannon 7, K Hayes 8; W O’Donoghue 8, C Lynch 6; G Hegarty 5, C O’Neill 7, T Morrissey 7; A Gillane 8, P Casey 8, D Reidy 7. Subs: D Ó Dálaigh 7 for Hegarty (52), G Mulcahy 6 for Casey (inj 59), A English 8 for Lynch (61), C Coughlan for Hayes (65), C Boylan for Reidy (69).

TIPPERARY: B Hogan 6; J Ryan 6, C Morgan 5, R Maher 6; C Bowe 7, B O’Mara 6, M Breen 6; W Connors 5, E Connolly 6; A Tynan 6, G O’Connor 5, J Forde 6; S Hayes 5, J Morris 5, M Kehoe 6. Subs: N McGrath 6 for Hayes (h-t), P Maher 6 for Kehoe (42), A Ormond 5 for Connors (50), D Stakelum 5 for Morris (59), S Kenneally for Forde (69).

REF: L Gordon (Galway).

- Never miss a story with notifications

- Gain full access to our premium content

- Browse free from up to 5 devices at once

Latest stories