Friday 17 August 2018

'There's an aimlessness about the type of ball going in' - What has happened to hurling's most dangerous attack?

20 May 2018; Noel McGrath of Tipperary in action against Cian Lynch of Limerick during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 1 match between Limerick and Tipperary at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
20 May 2018; Noel McGrath of Tipperary in action against Cian Lynch of Limerick during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 1 match between Limerick and Tipperary at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Sam Roberts

Jamesie O'Connor described Tipperary's forward play as 'aimless' after the 2016 All-Ireland champions lost their Munster opener to Limerick yesterday.

Tipperary slumped to a disappointing 1-23 to 2-14 defeat to Limerick and now face a short turnaround for the visit of Cork to Thurles next weekend.

The Treaty county were deserving winners at the Gaelic Grounds as they pulled away in the closing minutes to throw the new round-robin championship format wide open.

Tipperary led by one point at half-time but it was Limerick who largely dominated the play, the excellent free-taking of Jason Forde keeping the scoreboard close.

However, the home side finished far stronger, and substitute Barry Murphy's goal four minutes from time effectively ended the game as a contest, Limerick ultimately running out six-point winners.

Former Clare hurler O'Connor said Tipperary have sufficient attacking talent at their disposal, but claimed their forwards were not being properly utilised.

"There's a level of aimlessness about the type of ball going in, where it seemed to be so much more cerebral two years ago," O'Connor told the Independent.ie's The Throw-In podcast.

"In terms of the forward line, for me, the personnel is there, but it's the way they're playing, they seem to be more direct.

"The quality of ball that was going in in the All-Ireland final in 2016, there was very little the opposition defence can do about it.

"Limerick had personnel in the half-back line that were going to make it difficult to win primary possession in the air, and Limerick probably won the tactical battle as well in terms of shutting the Tipperary forwards down.

"I think the type of ball and the service that the Tipp forward line, and particularly the full forward line, is getting has a lot to do with it. That needs to be addressed, and addressed quickly.

"Their championship is on the line on Sunday, because if they lose to Cork with Waterford coming seven days later, Clare will be coming into the Tipp match, it will be their fourth game in 21 days.

"This is a critical six or seven days for the Tipperary management and players."

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