LIMERICK minor hurling manager Brian Ryan has praised his young side for their impressive win over Tipperary on Wednesday night.
And Ryan has admitted the prospect of playing on the same Munster final double bill as the county’s senior side h proved a major motivating factor in their stunning semi-final victory over the reigning All-Ireland champions.
Limerick will make their first Munster minor hurling final appearance since 2005 when they take on Waterford at the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday, July 14 (1.45pm). The game will be a curtain-raiser to the senior final showdown between Limerick and Cork (4pm).
South Liberties clubman, Brian Ryan was a selector with the side which lost the minor Munster final eight years ago and is hoping the county can finally bridge a 29-year gap by winning the provincial U-18 title.
Brian Ryan said: “It is tremendous to have two Limerick teams in the Munster finals, particularly in the Gaelic Grounds. It does not happen very often and the lads are very conscious of that. They are young. They don’t remember the last time the seniors were in a final, so it was a motivating factor for them to get there also. We tried to play it low key.
“We are delighted with the win. It was a very good team effort. We had targeted this match from the time the draw came out last November. We knew it was going to be a very tough task to come down here to Thurles to play the All-Ireland champions. They were worthy All-Ireland champions. We had seen them play against Waterford. They were very good. They had played well in challenge matches.
“We knew we had to be on our game tonight. We struggled there at times in the game, but I felt the team showed great character. Young lads who were slow to get into it came into the game in the second half and I think the three changes we made were instrumental in driving us forward.
“We have a strong panel. The panel is open. That is the way we have worked on our business all year. Overall, we are delighted with our performance and hopefully we can drive on.
“We played into the breeze and sun in the first half. That was the way we wanted to play. We knew we were taking a bit of a risk there, but we said ‘let’s go for it’.
“Bringing Barry Nash to midfield did freshen it up. That switch has worked against Galway last week (in a challenge game). Graham Whelan coming in and Tom Morrissey getting fouled for the penalty was instrumental in our success. The subs worked well. It is a 20-man game.”