LIMERICK manager Brian Ryan was left to rue his side’s failure to find their “spark’.
The losing manager said that his side never found their “rhythm” in efforts to find the necessary goals.
“It’s disappointing and the lads are gutted in there - we were just finding it difficult to get into a rhythm,” said Ryan with a rueful shake of his head.
Although below par Limerick only trailed 0-12 to 0-10 at half time and had the advantage of the breeze in the second half.
“That’s why we made two changes at half time and took off a player we had already brought on. We just felt we weren’t firing and needed something to kick-start it. A goal would have kick-started it and we just didn’t appear to get the breaks as we did earlier on in the season against tough opposition as well,” outlined Ryan.
“We missed three or four goal opportunities and unfortunately that was the deciding of the game. They took their chances and we just didn’t - particularly there in the first half we had a peach of a goal to take and we didn’t take it,” he recalled.
“It’s no fault of the lads, they battled hard and were a credit to themselves, their clubs and I am particularly proud of them as young hurlers”.
Kilkenny got their goal “at the right time” according to the Limerick manager and denied Limerick any green flag.
“They were particularly tight at the back and I suppose some of our lads have had better games during the year, unfortunately. It’s all part of the learning curve for these young players - they were on very good tight backs and Kilkenny had their homework done.”
He continued: “You perform to your ability if you are allowed - they didn’t give our boys an inch to be fair. The Kilkenny backs were extremely tight and the game was let flow with no easy frees out there. That’s all part and parcel of the game and we have to take the rough with the good
“It is disappointing for us but overall we are very pleased and proud of those young Limerick hurlers, we didn’t get the rub of the green today, unfortunately,” Brian Ryan told the media beneath Croke Park’s Cusack Stand.