LIMERICK’S minor hurling manager Leo O’Connor has acknowledged that the cause of his side’s second half collapse must be rectified if the Munster MHC title defence is to get back on track.
“There was a massive turn around - Cork scored 1-14 to 0-4 and we have to look at that,” sighed O’Connor.
“Up to the 27th minute we were happy but then 1-1 for Cork before half time changed the course of the game,” he recalled.
Limerick were 1-9 to 0-5 clear when Cork scored their 27th minute opening goal.
“That goal.... they had three chances - very rarely does a ball rebound out three times for shots at goal,” he said with a rueful shake of his head.
O’Connor also recalled the minor margins that helped turned the tide towards Cork.
Barry Murphy saw a 21st minute shot at goal crash wide when Limerick were on top.
“Barry had a go and that would have put us 2-7 to 0-5 and maybe that would have been beyond Cork,” said O’Connor.
“At half time we still thought we were fine - we had dominated until just before half time - we told them that we were starting again at 0-0 and wanted to win the second half,” he explained.
“I felt were looked a little bit tired in the opening 10-minutes of the second half. When a team get a run on you like that is so hard to stop and Shane Kingston was on fire. Fair play to Cork when they got on top, they put us away.”
Again there were fine margins that saw Cork gain control. With 20-minutes to play Limerick pointed and only trailed 1-11 to 1-10
“I can remember us getting the ball up the field at that stage and two went up for it and the break just fell their way and they went up the field and got a free,” recalled O’Connor.
“We only got one free in the second half and we felt maybe we could have got more - I remember Seamus Flanagan was sent flying near the sideline in the opening minutes and there was another one later just before their goal.”
“We will go back training and have to look towards Waterford - I’m not too interested in anyone else really, it’s about us and getting ourselves right,” said the Limerick minor manager after his first competitive game in charge.
Attention now turns to Wednesday May 6 when Limerick and Waterford meet in the Gaelic Grounds.
The sides have met in the last two Munster finals with replays needed on both occasion before Limerick claimed honours.
In 2011 when the sides met in Waterford, extra time was needed before The Deise prevailed.
The last time that Limerick didn’t win a game in the Munster hurling championship was in 2009 when Tipperary beat Limerick in round one and then Waterford were 4-8 to 1-14 winners in the back door series.
Limerick will be hoping that injured quartet Brian Ryan, Mikey Mackey, Conor Houlihan and Sean Hogan can return to boost the options for the make or break tie.