Complacency not a problem for Limerick hurlers

Jerome O’Connell


Jerome O’Connell

LIMERICK manager John Allen insists that complacency will not be a problem for his side after Saturday’s landslide victory in the All-Ireland Qualifiers.

LIMERICK manager John Allen insists that complacency will not be a problem for his side after Saturday’s landslide victory in the All-Ireland Qualifiers.

After defeating Leinster minnows Laois by 25-points Limerick now face Antrim next Saturday in round one proper of the back door route.

Antrim come to Limerick on the back of a shock defeat to Westmeath in the Leinster championship and have had trouble in their camp with former Limerick trainer Jerry Wallace stepping down and then performing a u-turn to return.

Regardless, John Allen insists that Limerick can only worry about their own preparations.

“I didn’t see the game last year but saw the highlights but Antrim did quiet well against Limerick,” said Allen in reference to the clash of the sides last season in Parnell Park in Dublin.

Antrim did live with Limerick for long periods until a David Breen goal set the Shannonsiders on their way to victory.

“Antrim would certainly be better than this Laois side, I have no doubt about that. If we play to our potential I have no doubt that we are well capable of taking Antrim,” said Allen.

He added: “They will be better opposition”.

“These players are well known in their own areas and I am sure that the talk all week was ye have two games and then ye are onto the big time again. That can sink in with fellas and you need every time you go into championship level to be at 100% and if we were to let down the guard and fellas think that no matter what happened we were going to win, then the longer you leave a team in the game – if we allowed them in the game early on who knows what could happen. It was important mentally that we pushed on and got a lead,” outlined Allen.

In relation to the easy win over Laois, Allen had a simple summary.

“Job done,” he said.

“It was a game that was a rite of passage for us - It was the first game that we have played this year that was true knockout because we were out if we lost,” said the Cork man.

“We were in a totally different position to the last time where we were hot favourites tonight and it was interesting to see how we dealt with that.”

He continued: “What can I say about the game – it was very one sided from very early and its hard to analyse whats good about the game but I suppose we did score 6-21 and like the last day we had a number of players missing and it gave us a chance to see other players and I suppose over the 70 minutes we used our full compliment of 20 players.”

“It was good to see fellas playing championship because when push came to shove the last day against Tipp we were a bit unsure whether the players were ready because they didn’t have experience. But at least now we have seen them at inter-county championship level,” he said.

Limerick raced into a 1-6 to 0-1 lead by the end of the opening quarter and always held the upperhand but still Allen said that management will learn from the game.

“There is something you can learn all the time – there was certainly facets of our play in the first half that I wouldn’t be too pleased with – we didn’t push-on when we had the possession and we probably should have taken them on a bit more and opened them up because we were well capable We throw a fair few balls into space when there was no one inside there. I wouldn’t have been too pleased with the first 10-minutes of the second half when we were a bit dead but I was happy that we finished stronger than we have in the last few games because it seemed that we were not finishing strongly,” he recalled.

One of the talking points from the Laois game was the positioning of Brian Geary at centre forward in a switch from his usual defensive role.

“When we analysed the league final and the Tipp game we certainly had a problem with 10-15 minutes to go and we were not simply winning enough ball in the half forward line,” explained the manager.

“We lost a huge amount of puckouts in them two games. We felt Brian Geary is a very experienced player and very good in the air and we would have a look at him centre forward and I think he did quiet well,” said the manager.

“He is very clever and very quick to see whats happening We wanted to see what options we have when it comes to a game when there is a bit more pressure on and can we use someone of his experience as someone who would win the ball when we need to win it,” explained Allen.

Limerick return to training this Tuesday night and will name their side for the Antrim game after training on Thursday evening.

“When we sit down to pick the team Kevin Downes will be back and Declan Hannon will have another week’s training and these are good problems to have when you have more than 15 to pick from,” said Allen, who added that Paul Browne’s substitution was more precaution than anything else.