Wednesday 22 November 2017

'It's important not to make mistakes because Tipp are so skilful' - O'Mahony

Gavin O'Mahony. Photo: Sportsfile
Gavin O'Mahony. Photo: Sportsfile

Jackie Cahill

Gavin O'Mahony has admitted that the memories of last year's Munster senior hurling championship mauling against Tipperary are "firmly planted" in Limerick's minds ahead of Sunday's rematch.

Tipp won by 16 points at the Gaelic Grounds in a one-sided quarter-final but Limerick have the chance to avenge that defeat and book a provincial final slot against Waterford on July 10.

And O'Mahony believes that there's a huge extra incentive for Limerick to right the wrongs of last June when they lock horns with the pre-match favourites in Thurles. "Against any opposition, if you go down like that, the next time you meet them it's firmly planted in your mind," he said. "We have to try and put a better show up the next time but we would have learned an awful lot from the Gaelic Grounds last year, going into this match. We just didn't perform well enough to win that game, made mistakes at crucial times that just kept giving Tipp the advantage.

"When you're playing the likes of Tipp, Kilkenny and these teams, you can't cough up scores like that. That's the golden rule."

O'Mahony, who is expected to start in the Limerick half-back line, was impressed by Tipp's victory over Cork last month but the Shannonsiders, in contrast, will be playing their first competitive game in nine weeks.

The Kilmallock man said: "Tipp made very few mistakes the last day and that's probably why they're up there consistently for the last few years. Pressure or no pressure, it's the same with all games. It's about settling and getting to the pitch of that, not just the young lads but for all of us. It's the first round, there's always mistakes and things that go wrong when you're finding your feet. It's about whatever team makes the least amount of those."

But O'Mahony (29) believes that Limerick can take great encouragement from recent meetings against Tipp. In 2012, Tipp had to unload their bench to come from seven points down in the final quarter and in each of the two seasons that followed, Limerick claimed championship victories against the Premier County. He reflected: "Even going back three or four years ago, there was a real stigma attached to it - is it possible, can we do this?

"We now know that we can beat them but it's about going back then and getting the training, everything right. You take the sideshows out of it and focus in on what you have to improve on. It's important not to (make mistakes) because they have such skilful players, forwards in particular and if they even get half a chance, it's a score, and then they seem to back it up with another one, confidence is up, dander is up and next minute they have three or four in a row."

Manager TJ Ryan used a sweeper system in the concluding stages of Limerick's league campaign and O'Mahony acknowledges the game has changed considerably since he made his senior debut in 2007.

He smiled: "When I first came on the panel bringing out the corner-forward was a real controversial thing - you were bringing out a player who was a natural corner-forward, bringing him out around the field, and that evolved to starting someone in the corner who was probably suited to playing out the field, and now that's evolved again to a whole new level.

"Every team you play, there's a totally different approach required. Cork-Tipperary was different to Clare-Waterford. It's a hot topic but teams are starting to realise that they can't just say, 'We're going to play a sweeper'. Unless you have a player who's suited to playing as a sweeper then there's no point in playing one."

Ryan will announce his starting line-up this evening.

Irish Independent

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