By Brian McDonnell at Semple Stadium, Thurles
TIPPERARY senior hurling manager Declan Ryan indicated on Sunday evening that the manner of his side’s comeback from seven points down could have the capacity to get the Premier moving in the right direction.
“I think so, yeah,” manager Declan Ryan said.
“I think these guys will know now that when they are within a couple of scores of the opposition that they can still win it.
“I think they showed fantastic spirit out there and all the hard work that they have done since the first of January paid off.
“I think they were travelling very well there in the last seven or eight minutes.
“It was looking dodgy from a Tipperary point of view.
“With 15 minutes to go Limerick were hurling well and had their tails up. They were hurling with their typical Limerick spirit, but credit goes to our lads there.
“They kept battling away and tagged on a couple of points. I’m delighted with the way that we finished the game.”
Declan Ryan opted to introduce players like Conor O’Brien, Patrick Maher, Shane McGrath and Séamus Callanan to his side.
And, those alterations paid a huge dividend.
“I think the substitutions we made today worked reasonably well,” Declan Ryan explained.
“I think all the lads that came on made a great contribution. They added a lot of energy to the game.
“It was very warm out there today and it was great that they made the impact that they did when they came on.
“You have to read the game as you see it in front of you and you have to make the changes when you feel they are needed and luckily today they worked.
“Some days they work and some days they don’t,” Declan Ryan said.
The Clonoulty-Rossmore man also highlighted the atmosphere in the Tipperary camp describing the last four weeks as “the best that I have seen it since I got involved in management” before heralding the return of Lar Corbett.
“It’s great to have Lar back in around the place,” Declan Ryan added.
“It’s fantastic to have him in and around the lads, but he only has a week under his belt. He has a small bit of catching up to do, but he’ll get there.
“We came away with a victory there today and hopefully we will see a bit more of him on the field of play as the year goes on.”
Declan Ryan also said that Tipperary would have to improve if they hoped to upset the Rebels in a semi-final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday, June 24th.
“We don’t have a great record down in Cork in recent years and obviously we have a lot to play for and a lot to prepare for,” Declan Ryan said.
Limerick manager John Allen revealed that he was so confident of a victory for his up-and-coming side that he had backed the Shannonsiders to win.
“I thought we were going to win that game there today and I went to the bookies yesterday to prove it,” John Allen revealed.
“I am hugely proud of the effort the lads put in. It was heroic for most of the game.
“They just had a stronger bench and I think that was the difference between the teams. I think the difference was that they had subs of real quality coming in.
“We brought on Declan Hannon, but Declan Hannon has only two weeks training done. Declan Hannon will have six weeks training done by the next time we play which means that he will be something like the Declan Hannon that we have seen playing underage and so on. The bench that Tipp had made a huge difference.”
From experience John Allen also knew that Limerick’s lead of seven points was a fragile one: “when we were six or seven points up there were still ten or 12 minutes to go and in championship hurling it’s not enough of a lead. We have seen that numerous times where teams turn around leads like that.
“They just had a number of players, top quality players on their bench.
“They were fresh legs coming in and we brought in fresh legs, but they just were not as impressive as the Tipperary fresh legs.
“We wanted to win the game and I did think that we would win the game.
“Of course this will bring us on, but championship games are all about winning and the next day we are playing it will be knock-out so a performance today is great for confidence. I have no doubt that the Limerick public would have to be impressed by the intensity of the Limerick players. So, I would say that this game will be very good for Limerick.”