“WE have to improve and we will,” vowed Limerick hurling manager TJ Ryan ahead of next Saturday’s All Ireland SHC Qualifier against Dublin.
Ryan was speaking in Mullingar after his side’s inconsistent display in their 12-point win over Westmeath.
“I don’t think the performance was anything to rave about - it was a result, a means to an end,” said Ryan.
“We are in the draw and will move forward but one thing I do know is that we will have to improve.”
Limerick raced into a 2-2 to 0-2 lead within 12-minutes but then found themselves in arrears after an 18-minute spell without a score. Only a late flurry of four points saw Limerick 2-6 to 1-7 ahead at half time.
“We missed a few goals chances in the first half and there was a period there in the first half for maybe 13-14 minutes when we didn’t get any score - we created a couple of goal chances and points and didn’t take them to leave them in the game until the second half,” he recalled.
“I think we created chances and didn’t take them and maybe heads seemed to drop then and in fairness to Westmeath they got their goal and came into the game and then hung on and that,” explained the Limerick manager.
“I am not going to make any excuses - the rain made it difficult for both sides because handling the hurley was difficult but look we played in that before.”
The manager revealed that scoring goals was a key part of their tactic.
“We were creating chances but we weren’t putting them away. To win championship matches you have got to score goals and we did mention that during the week and we did create chances in that first half but a lot of them went wide and we would like to get a few more but we got 4-15, which is a decent enough return. We were putting it onto our guys that when chances present themselves you have to take them - we took one early in the second half but look I would look for more and when we go back to the training ground this week we will look for more and want more.”
Ryan made five changes from the side which lost to Tipperary disappointingly in the Munster semi final with captain Donal O’Grady, All Star Seamus Hickey, Declan Hannon, Stephen Walsh and Barry Hennessy all out.
“We tried to freshen it up during the week and now we have a job to go away and do our home work on who ever we are playing and pick our best team possible. The squad is competitive - we would have likes for fellas to put their hands up a little bit more,” said Ryan.
“It was a tough day and they made life very difficult for us,” sighed Limerick manager Ryan after the final whistle.
“We are in the draw and that was the most important thing and now we need to move on. 4-15 was probably a good enough score in the finish and I thought we missed a few chances where we should gave had more scores,” he said in reference to the wides tally of 14, many of which were goal attempts.
Ryan added: “It was always going to be a tricky enough assignment for us to get back on the horse”.
Limerick will face into the next round against Dublin without corner back Tom Condon, who suffered a collar bone injury in the first half of the win over Westmeath. A scan this Monday will reveal the full extent of his injury but he won’t be ready for next weekend.