Horan happy as Limerick slug it out

LIMERICK’S sixth All-Ireland qualifier win in 10 years leaves Maurice Horan’s men just one win away from the quarter-finals off the All-Ireland senior football championship.

LIMERICK’S sixth All-Ireland qualifier win in 10 years leaves Maurice Horan’s men just one win away from the quarter-finals off the All-Ireland senior football championship.

But Limerick manager Horan agrees that Saturday’s third round opponents Wexford pose the greatest challenge yet to the Shannonsiders’ hopes of reaching the last eight of the championship.

Horan said: “Wexford are a step up. You saw that in the Leinster final last week (against Dublin), how close they were. They will be out to prove something.

“I’m sure Jason Ryan was here to watch us play Waterford and he’s one manager who does his homework very thoroughly.”

Horan praises his players’ response after Waterford had reeled off five unanswered points either side of half time to draw level in the third quarter.

“If someone had offered me a five-point win mid-way through the second half, I would have bitten their hand off for it,” Horan admitted.

“I thought we were under awful pressure at that stage. We weathered the storm for maybe the first 10 or 12 minutes of the second half and then all of a sudden we started fluffing chances.

“But fair play to the boys, they kept the ball down at the Waterford end. The likes of Seanie Buckley, Tom Lee, Stephen Kelly, a lot of these guys came good. They held the ball up and we eventually got the scores.

“It wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination but we will take it.

“We have a match again next weekend. We will have to assess our injury situation. But isn’t it great to be looking forward to another championship match next weekend.”

Horan said he didn’t have a good enough view of the incident when match referee Cormac Reilly initially awarded a penalty to Waterford before changing his mind or the second half sending off of Deise full-forward Gary Hurney.

“In fairness to the referee in relation to the penalty, he made a call. But maybe before he put his hands out he should have gone in to the umpires asked, what’s the story here?” Horan suggested.

“I believe the umpires called into attention and said it was outside the box. I am at ground level, I don’t know if it was a penalty or not. It is hard to know.

“I didn’t see the sending off incident. There was a crowd of players. I saw Tom Lee go to ground. He doesn’t go to ground too easily, generally. It was one of these things. Gary Hurney will probably regret his action because the game was still in the balance at that stage.”

Horan will have an anxious wait this week to see if Tommy Stack recovers from the hamstring injury he suffered in the opening half in time for next weekend’s tie with Wexford. Seamus O’Carroll was also replaced during the win over Waterford after suffering from cramp.

The Limerick management team will hope Jim Donovan, who is working his way back to fitness, can play some part against the beaten Leinster finalists, while John Cooke was able to play the final 25 minutes of Saturday’s game.

“We could have played Jim Donovan for 10 or 12 minutes today. But that’s about it,” Maurice Horan revealed.

“He has just come back into training for our last couple of sessions basically. He is still not the old Jim Donovan, not as mobile as normal. Hopefully he will still be a factor an asset for us the next day.

“With Tommy Stack he has a very stiff hamstring. It just ceased up on him. We don’t know if it’s a pull or a tear. It usually takes 72 hours by the time you know with those kinds of injuries.”