Saturday 25 November 2017

Cyril Farrell: Experience the difference for pliable Premier

A dejected Gavin O'Mahony match between Limerick and Tipperary Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
A dejected Gavin O'Mahony match between Limerick and Tipperary Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Cyril Farrell

When you're playing with an extra man, you have to be able to adapt and yesterday, it looked to me that Limerick were confused about how to go about breaking down what was an excellent Tipperary defence.

Limerick had Gavin O'Mahony playing in the sweeper role, which is fine, but when he was hitting the ball up to the forwards, it just wasn't sticking and that was their major problem.

They didn't have any loose man in the forward line, which they may regret. At times it looked like it was Limerick who were playing with 14 men and not Tipp.

Tipp were much more streetwise. When they were in possession, the likes of Patrick Maher, Ronan Maher and Seamus Kennedy knew that O'Mahony would be sweeping so they made sure that they used the wide channels.

That forced O'Mahony out on to the wings and it asked questions of the Limerick defence. It seems like a simple ploy, however it's one thing thinking of doing it but it's another to actually carry it out effectively.


The sweeper is like the quarter-back in American football in that he has to be able to pin a fella but to pin a fella you need your forwards to come deeper. Limerick never seemed to grasp that and they kept hitting it long. The Tipp defence has to be given credit, however.

Limerick played very traditionally, with the old 'hip and whip style' but they needed to be cleverer. They seemed a bit confused with the extra man and over the 70 minutes, they were never really in the game.

'Bubbles' O'Dwyer can have no complaints about his red card but I thought that he was fouled first. To me, he got a late clip on the wrist and was expecting a free. But he pulled back and you just can't do that and he had to go. He knew he was caught but it was definitely a rush of blood to the head and he'll pay the price in missing the Munster final.

Despite what the score-line suggests, it was a comfortable victory for Tipp. They were on top for the whole game.

It was great to see Noel McGrath back to his best. His hand-pass across for Seamie Callanan's goal was pure poetry in motion and when he's in that kind of form, he is a joy to watch.

He shortens the grip better than anyone and just when you think he is going to be hooked, he finds a way out of it. He's a great stick player.

Callanan's brilliant goal may only have been worth three points but you'd have to say that psychologically it was worth a lot more because it seemed to deflate Limerick.

Limerick will have to regroup and go again. I wonder if TJ Ryan will put out the same team the next day because it looks like it could do with being freshened up.

The one draw that they definitely won't want is Dublin in Parnell Park. This defeat will put them back a bit but it's important to remember that they are a young side.


It will take time for this Limerick team to mature. It certainly won't happen overnight but there is plenty of potential there.

Tipp were delighted to go in at half-time three points up and they settled down again after the restart. We were expecting a Limerick backlash but it was far too late by the time it arrived.

I thought Cathal Barrett was fantastic again. He threw his body on the line and the thing with him now is that he seems to be able rise the Tipp team and that is a huge help.

Tipp will be battle-hardened after this win and there will be lads jumping for places, which is an ideal scenario for Michael Ryan. Jason Forde and Niall O'Meara came on and made their presence felt and they'll want to be starting in the final.

It's difficult to know how much Waterford will have learned about Tipp yesterday because they did what they had to do with 14 men but one thing is for sure, Tipp will know what to expect against them, which should make for a cracking final.

Offaly defeat should not cloud their progress

It was no surprise to see Galway beating Offaly, and while they came up well short in the end, it’s important for them to focus on the positives.

Obviously, Offaly won’t be happy to have lost, but they’ll know that they played well. They have definitely progressed from where they started at the beginning of the year.

They’ll have been disappointed because they were in the lead, but at the same time, they were in the game for long periods with 14 men.

I don’t think this will set them back. They have rounded a dark corner and there is light at the end of the tunnel for them. If they get a lucky draw, they’ll be well back in the frame again. 

Offaly had a great first half but Galway just have more hurlers at the moment and it’s as simple as that really.

There were two big sending offs. Conor Cooney will miss the Leinster final and Colin Egan will miss Offaly’s next game. Egan’s red card came very early and he put his side on the back foot, but they showed good character that will no doubt stand to them going forward.

You wouldn’t know where Galway stand in the grand scheme of things. They would have been expecting to beat Offaly, but they are where they want to be – and that’s back in the Leinster final.

I was a little bit surprised with the changes that they made up front because it’s the backs who seem to be in trouble every day, but they still scored 2-19.

Yesterday’s performance won’t be good enough to beat Kilkenny and they’ll know that. They have a few weeks now to improve and that is important. Like Tipp, there’ll be plenty of lads putting their hands up for selection.

No one in Galway will be reading too much into yesterday’s win and we won’t know where they stand until they play Kilkenny.

Indo Sport

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport