Gillane gives backing to shoot-out format
Heady times for Limerick hurling. Promotion back to Division 1A secured, a club team with 10 potential squad members facing into an All-Ireland final replay this weekend and a little bit of luck to steer them into a league semi-final after Monday evening's epic three-hour quarter-final against Clare went their way.
The first league match to be decided by a free-taking competition, prescribed to determine 'on the day' winners for pre-season competition games, league quarter-finals and semi-finals and championship qualifiers has provoked a mixed reaction.
Limerick's top scorer Aaron Gillane, who nailed both his 'frees' in the shoot-out from 65 metres and also hit 2-11, has given it his approval, despite confessing to a "scary" experience standing over those extra frees.
"It was scary for those of us taking the frees, probably entertaining for those going over to watch it," he said. "I missed two in the game, that was what was on my mind, not to miss another one. It was straightforward, right in front of the goals. You just try to do the simple things right.
"Instead of coming back next week, keep playing and playing. It's different. We tried it out there tonight and hopefully people enjoyed it," said the Patrickswell man.
All players had the advantage of striking their frees with the backing of the wind which Gillane admitted was a much better experience.
But Clare's former All-Ireland winning captain Anthony Daly believes a penalty shoot-out would be a better way to decide these games.
Daly felt the involvement of a goalkeeper would create a better draw for spectators. "I didn't get that sense of joy from the Limerick supporters," he told RTE Sport.
"We had to try and do something to finish these games on the day but this is a surreal situation. We never have 65s where there's no goalkeeper, there's no ball off the post or a rebound.
"I'd much prefer the penalty shoot-out where you're mano a mano. At least a goalie could make a great save or something like that."
Gillane admits there's a good vibe around Limerick hurling at present while conceding it's very early in the season. He said the absence of the Na Piarsaigh players is driving them harder.
"We're training as hard as anyone else. We don't turn up to matches just to play, we turn up to win every match, the same as going down to Galway last week.
"After all these matches we'll see what we have to learn. Everyone is enjoying it. It would be worse if people were going training and not enjoying it. It's only early days yet, only the league but the vibes around the place are good."