Limerick manager TJ Ryan wasn’t getting carried away in the wake of Saturday night’s Waterford Crystal Cup final over Cork - but he was still happy with a job well done.
“We came down to win. We had more recognised first-teamers than Cork and we expected to win. Any time you win is good,” he said afterwards,
The three games against Waterford, UCC and Cork were the preparation he was looking for before the real business of 2015 begins. “The competition has been good over the last couple of weeks. The last two games were tight. Tonight we gave five subs a run. There were a lot of positives from this display. We scored 3-20, all from play. We got a couple of nice scores, we had a patch before half-time when we put a bit of daylight between the teams. We showed composure in the second half to keep it there.”
Looking ahead to the opening round of the league against Waterford on the 14th of February, Ryan conceded he has been landed with some new problems regarding selection. But he’s not unhappy with the situation.
“They’re good problems to have. David Breen will be back training during the week, Seanie Tobin at the end of February. Kevin Downes, the longest one at the moment, probably around mid-March.”
And returning regulars are not the only pressure on places in the starting lineup. “It’s natural to have a few changes in the panel and we’ve new players coming up. Minor teams have been good over the past few years. To be getting a couple of players from those is brilliant from our point of view. And there’s more to come. We need them all.”
Last season’s wing-back Gavin O’Mahony raised some eyebrows when he lined out at centre-forward. “I wouldn’t rule him out appearing there again,” admitted Ryan. “Gavin is a bit unfortunate in that he can’t line out for Kilmallock next week (due to suspension in the All-Ireland club semi-final against Portaferry) but that was a bit of good fortune for us.
“He needed a game and he played very well there at centre-forward tonight. We’ve seen what he can do. So he’ll be hoping his team-mates can get over next weekend and move on to Paddy’s Day. And we’ll be hoping Kilmallock can keep up the good news in Limerick hurling.”