Limerick’s trademark third-quarter ruthlessness exposed Tipperary fragility on Saturday night at the TUS Gaelic Grounds as the three-in-a-row All-Ireland champions ran out comfortable six-point winners (1-28 to 0-25) to reach their third league final since 2019.
Trailing by four points at the break (0-16 to 0-12), the All-Ireland champions outscored the visitors 1-11 to 0-4 in that third-quarter spell, with Peter Casey’s kicked goal in the 57th minute effectively sealing the issue in front on an attendance of 11,812.
In his previous role as Waterford manager, Liam Cahill couldn’t buy a break against John Kiely’s team, and the pattern continued here.
“We spoke about starting the second half well, but Limerick found their flow for a 10- or 15-minute period. Typical Limerick, they just put you to the sword. They seemed to be coming, wave after wave,” Cahill said.
“We struggled to control our own puck-out. We struggled with breaks in the key areas around the middle of the field and half-forward line.”
But Cahill insisted there were positives, citing the performances of Alan Tynan and Gearóid O’Connor who, between them, scored 0-7 from play.
Tipp’s second-half wipe out saw them manage just 0-3 from play and twice as many Limerick players got on the scoresheet (12 as opposed to Tipp’s six). And their failure to create a decent goal chance was described as a “major worry” by Cahill.
“When you play the likes of Limerick, you need to be putting on three or four goal opportunities and maybe converting two or three minimum to pick up that point tally you might be lacking,” he said.
“There’s nothing that can’t be fixed. I’ve a really good, intelligent group of players. They’ll be quick to self-assess themselves and put this thing right and make it better for the end of April.”
Describing the game as “really tough”, Limerick manager Kiely acknowledged his side struggled big time in the first half. They were outscored 0-7 to 0-2 between the 12th and 21st minutes.
“We just couldn’t get to grips with their movement. Tipp players were picking up puck-outs in the middle of the field with time on the ball. If Tipp players get time on the ball like that, they are going to hurt you. They are very, very accurate.
“There was a bit of a breeze and we were playing into it in the first half, so maybe four points wasn’t a bad deficit given the conditions. The response from our lads in the first 15 minutes (of the second half) was really, really strong.”