In his weekly Limerick Leader column, Martin Kiely looks at the Ardscoil Ris hurlers, the Mike O’Riordan interview in the Sunday Independent and the Limerick footballers’ impressive start in the league
Good teams have a habit of hurling right to the finish and showing all of their experience, Ard Scoil Ris produced a late rally, that will see them fight another day, against a fine Nenagh CBS team that looked to have victory secured in Tipperary town last Sunday.
In recent times the Limerick city based school has led the way in college’s hurling in Munster but within a short of space of time they knew very well that they were playing a team of some quality in this game. The majority of fields are in a poor state at this time of year but full credit to all concerned in Tipperary town as the surface was excellent given the time of year. Nenagh have some real quality players and many of them will play minor with Tipperary later this year and for long spells they were very much on top in many key positions.
Despite having many players who have gone through the Harty Cup experience in the past I felt Ard Scoil looked nervous and this impeded their game. Nenagh, on the other hand, took the game to Ard Scoil from the very start and given the amount of possession they enjoyed they should have gone further ahead.
Ard Scoil Ris started the same team as they had against Castletroy but again they only hurled in short spells and never really looked like taking control of the game whereas Nenagh had 1-2 on the score board within seven minutes.
The goal was scored by Stephen O’Brien, this young man played with the Tipperary minor footballers last year when they won the All Ireland title. I expected Ard Scoil to win some of the main positions but they were struggling until a great goal by Lukas O’Brien played a major part in halting the slide.
O’Brien showed some class in the way that he weaved his way around the Nenagh defence but the blood lines of hurling are well placed in this young man. Jason Forde was a key man for Nenagh and was very accurate from frees and while I am on the subject of frees I thought referee David Copps was a little harsh on Ard Scoil on a few occasions.
This was a patchy game that never really got into a decent flow but we did have some fine scores. Ard Scoil were behind by a point when they were awarded a penalty after Wayne O’ Donoghue was dragged down. Jamie Shanahan blasted the ball to the net but overall this was one of his tamer games.
Ard Scoil held a slender one point lead at half time and given how they started this was a good position to be in. The overall quality of the first half was poor but you got a sense that this game was going to go right to the wire. The Ard Scoil backs were under a lot of pressure in this game but to their credit they played a major part in keeping their team in the contest for another day. They worked very hard to deliver great ball but it returned too quickly and it is vital they strengthen their half forward line.
Michael Foley might do a good job in the centre but moving Kevin O’Brien and Cian Lynch to the wings would add vital skill and power to a line that needs to work harder. Ronan Lynch would be better suited to the inside line and maybe put Lukas O Brien at full forward. From what I saw last Sunday I feel Ard Scoil have the ability to improve much more but they will need to move the team around a little for this to happen.
The opening minutes of the second half were much like the first and once again Nenagh hit three points in a row, two from frees and one from a sixty five. Nenagh were mopping up the ball around the centre of the field and resulting deliveries put the Ard Scoil backs under huge pressure. PJ Hall controlled the full back line as Nenagh went in search of goals but the Adare man, backed up by the tidy Ronan Kirby from Mungret, did very well.
Barry O’Connell and Evan Fitzgerald dropped back to help clear the lines and overall the defence worked well as a unit. Three points in a row by Jamie Shanahan and a smashing effort by Jack Kelliher saw the Limerick side go into a one point lead with fifteen minutes left in the game. Just when we thought Ard Scoil had got a grip Nenagh came again with three points of their own and crucially led by two points with just three minutes left in the game. Other teams might well have faded in this situation but when the gun was pointed to the head the Ard Scoil lads had the steel to respond.
The subs bench can be so important and when Michael O’Loughlin was called upon little did he think that this would be the day when he would produce a moment of magic that would send this game to a replay. O’Loughlin’s mother and father are mighty hurling people and they must have enjoyed his flick which was executed in tight space and the resulting point meant this game would go to a replay.
I think Ard Scoil will have learned a lot from this game but they will need to put it to good use. Nenagh will also have learned and the fact that they took too much out of the ball is one thing they will not want to repeat next time out.
The game goes ahead on Tuesday next week at the same venue and I expect Ard Scoil to display more confidence and if they do that they will win the game.
O’Riordan interview not the full story
It must have been a quiet news day in the national press last Sunday when Limerick secretary Mike O’Riordan was in the Sunday Independent telling the nation how busy he is in Limerick.
This was very unusual because for the best part you don’t see other secretaries doing such interviews. The rule has always been that the best administrators don’t have to tell people what they are doing, because actions speak louder than words.
Reading it, one would think that no one else in Limerick had been doing anything. Mondays are the time when supporters and officials ring me most and I have to say that I was very surprised by the amount of people that rang in relation to the interview.
O’Riordan spoke about Rathkeale and all the work that was going on there. Perhaps he told the Sunday Indo journalist about the generosity of the Neville family and also the fact that Liam Lenihan was the key man behind making the Rathkeale project come to light – and that Mick McDonald has also played a major role. But if he did, there was no mention of any of this in the published interview.
In due course it might be time to do a review of Mike O’Riordan’s term to date. The comments in the interview were not in keeping with a motion by Ballylanders at the last County Board meeting in which they had to put forward a motion asking for communication to be answered within 24 hours. It was passed without any dissenting voice and with the words of the chairman: “Mike will look after that.” We’ll wait and see.
Footballers off to impressive start
The Limerick footballers had a mighty win last Sunday and one man stood out once again. John Riordan’s star has been on the rise for some time now and I feel we have yet to see the best of him.
This man’s attitude is spot on and any player who wants to play at this level could do well to mirror his example. Riordan is also a good hurler and I feel he was hard done by a couple of years ago.
Another player might have walked away but not this man. It proves a point, if you work hard and have the right attitude then great things can be achieved.
Na Piarsaigh must be ready for tough Ulster challenge
The time has arrived for Na Piarsaigh and next Saturday they will travel to Dublin to play the All Ireland Semi Final against the Ulster champions Loughiel Shamrocks.
This is a huge game for the club and they are now just one hour away from a place in the All Ireland Final on St Patrick’s Day.
I expect this to be a very hard game and unless they are in the right frame of mind they could find it hard to get a result. Na Piarsaigh have worked very hard in recent weeks and have played matches against Dublin and also Waterford.
They played Dublin in Parnell Park and that will stand to them hugely in this contest. The Munster champions must be prepared to battle in this game and if they can match their opponents in this are then I feel they have the class to get over this encounter.
This game is all about getting a result and if that is by one point so be it because the prize is to be in Croke Park for the final and anything can happen once you are there.