Limerick have 'steely resolve' for defining test, insists Beary
Limerick coach Paul Beary is viewing next Sunday's Munster SHC semi-final against Tipperary as "a major stepping stone" for the Shannonsiders.
Last year's beaten Munster finalists are targeting a third championship victory over Tipperary in as many years and Beary sees this latest showdown as the door to opening up a long summer.
While acknowledging that Tipperary are potential All-Ireland winners, Beary insists that Limerick are "completely focused" on the job at hand.
He said: "With Tipperary losing by a matter of inches last year, there doesn't seem to be any doubt in the wider domain that they are capable of winning the All-Ireland.
"More have that doubt about Limerick but we're completely focused on our own performance. We're genuinely not looking beyond Tipperary, we're totally focused on this.
"There is total acknowledgement and appreciation of how big this game is for us in terms of hopefully opening up the summer for us. We'd see it as a major stepping stone."
Limerick once again bucked their recent trend of bouncing back from League disappointment to produce a big championship showing.
Hosed by Dublin in the League quarter-final, Limerick emerged as a rejuvenated force in the Munster Championship opener against Clare, and Beary agrees with the view that the greater edge in summer hurling brings the best out of his players.
"I think so, yeah. In the lead-up to the Clare game, I know there are back-door facilities but we took a bit of a risk from a management perspective in terms of prioritising - we did bill it as close to knockout championship," he said.
The prize for Sunday's winners is two-fold, with a route to the Munster final and the business end of the All-Ireland series on offer.
And Beary noted the reaction of Waterford boss Derek McGrath following the Déise's victory over Cork, when he referred to how provincial semi-final victory is important in terms of avoiding the early minefield of the All-Ireland qualifiers.
Beary said: "I heard Derek McGrath mentioning that it opens up their summer. Getting to a Munster final is a huge thing from our perspective. If you get over Tipperary, which is a huge ask for this team, we'll have reached three Munster finals in a row.
"That doesn't happen too often in Limerick so it gives you that platform. As a Limerick supporter over the years, you don't get the same feeling going into a back-door match compared to a Munster Championship match. It's a completely different setting.
"The whole incentive it staying in the Munster Championship for as long as possible, getting to a Munster final and then you never know.
"Compared to two years ago, I think this side is maturing a bit as well.
"I do believe a steely resolve is building up in the spine of the team and then up the flanks you have a guy like Cian Lynch coming in, having no sense of being in awe of the occasion, and being a freestyle hurler.
"That's the way we motivated him in the build-up - treat this match as if you were going out for a club match with Patrickswell. It worked for us on the day."