Limerick football boss John Brudair was delighted to watch his side pick up two valuable league points against Sligo on Sunday.
Brudair isn’t a man to let loose the emotions once the game has ended. The passion that drives him on the sideline gets put away for the next occasion when hand are shaken and footballs, water bottles, bibs, tees, gloves and other accoutrements are collected and counted.
But a glint of satisfaction escaped on Fitzgerald Park after the two-point win over Sligo. “The lads really dug in during the last fifteen minutes,” he said with understated pride. “We missed a goal chance, Sligo got theirs and they were in the driving seat. But we didn’t panic, we didn’t lose heart. We were nice and calm at the end, kept doing the right things, got some nice scores. We’re delighted with the win.”
He accepted that the extra man after Brian Curran’s dismissal had a bearing on the outcome. “Of course the extra man made a difference. In the first game of the league, legs always get tired near the end. That extra bit of security was great.”
But Brudair was adamant that Limerick fully deserved their victory. “We totally dominated the game during the first twenty minutes and we should have been well up at that stage.”
He was very pleased with his side’s performance in the middle. “Gearóid Hegarty is proving to be a great talent. He has adapted to the inter-county game over the last twelve months and he gives us the extra height that we needed. Tom Lee and Seanie Buckley are very competitive under the kickout and we were able to press Sligo high up the field. That gave us the chance to get the ball into our strong areas.”
Brudair was conscious that this was only the first challenge of a long season even though pundits had made it out as a must-win for league survival. “We’re in a must-win in every game. Limerick aren’t in a position to pick and choose which games to go for.” However, he did appreciate the importance of the opposition. “But we had to get over Sligo because they beat us twice last year in games we should have won. We gifted them the first game in the league.”
There’s another score to be settled in the side’s next outing in Thurles. “Tipp gave us a good going-over in the Munster championship. We just didn’t perform at all that day. So we’re hoping to give them a good game next Sunday.”