JOHN Allen has backed his young Limerick hurlers to bridge the gap between the chasing pack and standard bearers; Kilkenny and Tipperary.
After a season that saw Limerick beat Clare, Antrim and Laois and loose to the two championship favourites, the Limerick manager expects his team to build on the progress of 2012.
Next year will of course mark the 40th anniversary of Limerick’s last All-Ireland senior hurling crown.
“There were a lot of positives from the first day we went out on February 25 and under performed and were beating comprehensively we have made a lot of progress,” outlined Allen at the end of his first year at the helm.
He added: “I am very pleased that Limerick hurling is going in the right direction but moral victories are no good any more”.
“There are a lot of a young fellas on that team and there are more to come into it and I am sure that they will knuckle down to the hard work that will take them up to the Kilkennys and Tipperarys.”
He said that there were the players in Limerick to breach the gap to the top teams.
“I think there are – it comes down to intensity and work rate. Today we had the intensity and work rate in the first half and we didn’t probably in the second half, our forwards certainly didn’t have enough of it in the second half. Are there enough good hurlers there? Confidence can do wonders – win a game against Tipperary or Kilkenny and confidence levels rise,” explained the Limerick manager.
“Certainly Limerick have a few exceptional hurlers and have a lot of very good hurlers. Maybe beating one of Kilkenny or Tipperary or a top team would bring them on.”
Limerick scored 19 goals in the championship, but just of them came against Kilkenny, who can count their four as the decisive scores.
“In the 15-minutes after half time the game was won and lost, unfortunately we lost it,” signed Allen.
“I can’t have too many complaints, the better team did win over the hour and I’m sure Kilkenny’s stats were better than our stats over the hour,” he said.
“Maybe one or two of their goals were misfortunate but the team who gets the most goals usually win - all in all the better team won and thats the bottom line.”