Sport Hurling

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Blaming Model defeat on tiredness an insult to brilliant Limerick

Colm Parkinson

Published 30/07/2014 | 02:30

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Shane Dowling (left) celebrates scoring Limerick's second goal against Wexford in front of the Treaty fans at Semple Stadium. Photo: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
Shane Dowling (left) celebrates scoring Limerick's second goal against Wexford in front of the Treaty fans at Semple Stadium. Photo: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

Okay, let's clear one thing up – Wexford did not lose to Limerick on Sunday because they were tired.

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Using that excuse is lazy and does a massive disservice to an outstanding Limerick team.

In fact, just before the game started the RTE pundits told us they had the advantage of momentum after playing four weeks in a row. Which is it supposed to be?

I've no time for hindsight analysis. We've heard it all before – a team wins after a four-week break and they're fresh, and if they lose, the narrative changes to a lack of games.

I argued on the show before the Clare replay that it was unfair on Wexford to play an U-21 Leinster final a few days before the replay. Certainly fatigue would have been a factor that day for the U-21 players, but of course Wexford won, so nobody mentioned it.

Before Sunday's All-Ireland quarter-final the Wexford team had a full eight days' rest since they beat Waterford. Eight days! How much rest does a team need?

Nowadays, recovery is taken very seriously by management teams. Pool sessions, stretching sessions (some players like doing yoga in their spare time) and light ball-work sessions would have been on the agenda in the build-up to the Limerick game.

I'd be surprised if extra masseurs were not drafted in all week to ensure everyone was getting rubbed out. The truth is Wexford were beaten because Limerick brought an intensity and style of hurling to the game that they simply couldn't cope with.

Liam Dunne's side are trying to play a similar style to Clare. However, they are not as adept or as comfortable with it yet, so when they were put under extreme pressure all over the field they made mistakes. Silly mistakes.

Balls out over the sideline and misplaced passes were a feature of the first half for them.

Limerick were more physical and more direct. With the advantage of the wind, they scored goals and just blew Wexford out of the water.

PROGRESS

Wexford are a good team and they will be back. They've made great progress this year and will learn from the loss. If they play Limerick again, the game will be much closer.

Characteristic first-half wides did them no favours and they knew the game was up at half-time.

Limerick must wonder what they need to do to get some credit.

They beat a 'gutless' Tipperary in the Munster semi-final and now a 'tired' Wexford.

Maybe after the Kilkenny game they'll get the credit they deserve.

CP

Irish Independent

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