LIMERICK will “grab” the opportunity to get back to winning ways in the All Ireland SHC quarter-final.
That’s the promise of Paudie O’Brien, who this Wednesday was speaking at the GAA’s launch of the All Ireland SHC in Co Clare.
“We have two weeks and another match - some teams don’t have that luxury, they have to wait a year to put things right,” explained O’Brien, the Limerick vice-captain.
“In fairness to the lads they are a very ambitious group of lads and you train and prepare very hard and when you don’t bring it out on the field on a big day like a Munster final it can be heartbreaking and you have to live with that.”
He added: “We are very very disappointed and it’s still very raw a couple of days after it”.
The panel met on Monday night to start the healing process.
“We realise we are still in a great position and have a match to put things right - if we bring out that performance the next day and up it to get a few small things right hopefully it would get us over the line,” he said of the Waterford or Wexford tie.
“We felt we left ourselves down in the semi last year and if someone told us at the start of the year that we would be in an All Ireland quarter-final with a chance to get to a semi-final we would have grabbed it and we will grab it,” he said.
“This week it just about trying to see where we went wrong last Sunday and put that right, because we obviously don’t know who we are facing yet. We are under no illusions we have a huge task ahead of us on Sunday week - last year when we got straight to the semi-final we found the break a bit tough but now we are the other side of it and are up for the challenge.”
It was a Munster final that saw Cork cause big damage to O’Brien and his half back colleagues and the Kilmallock man wasn’t hiding.
“I think in the first half I marked every single one of their forwards and that’s tough going but I can only account for myself and it’s definitely a forgettable day in a Limerick jersey for me.
“In that second half we were under pressure all over the place and it was ball after ball coming down on top of us - it was only a matter of time before they got the break though. You could live with the points because we were going nip-n-tuck but the goal was the killer. I felt they were getting their scores a little easier and that’s our problem, the backs - we weren’t tight enough for most of the match,” sighed O’Brien.
He explained: “It’s hard enough to get to a final and when you get there you want to try and win them because you won’t get there every year. It was extremely disappointing - it wasn’t to be our day. We can have no complaints - the better team won on the day. The team that got the goal always looked like they would win it and fair play to Cork they got them.”
“All we can do is put it behind us - it’s one championship gone and another one starts and I have no doubt we can put it right.
“We are not a million miles off it but the next couple of weeks are going to have to react,” said O’Brien.
The Kilmallock man did however have cause for celebration last weekend.
The Kilmallock man and team-mates may have surrendered their Munster hurling title in Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Sunday, but just 72-hours before the final O’Brien’s first child was born.
It was Thursday afternoon when baby Fiadh O’Brien was born to Paudie and partner Rayna Tsang.
“It was a bitter-sweet few days,” he said this Wednesday.
“It was a tough, yet great week,” explained the new dad.
“Even though losing a Munster final and losing the way we did is heartbreaking, and no one takes it as bad as I do, when you get to go home to a healthy newborn child it does put things in perspective and gives you that extra drive to get things going again,” said O’Brien.
“I rushed home Sunday evening to get to see her and that was nice because usually after a game like that I would lock myself in a room and not come out for a few days and beat myself up over a few things - you get older and grow more experienced,” he said with a smile.
“It was a tough week preparation wise, but at the end of the day I took that field 100% ready for the match,” explained O’Brien, who was at Limerick training just hours after the birth of baby Fiadh last Thursday.
“She might be old enough to get to the next match!” he joked.