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TJ Ryan slams 'vultures' as Na Piarsaigh trio lift Limerick

Limerick 1-21 Dublin 1-19

Tom Morrissey on the charge for Limerick hurlers against Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile
Tom Morrissey on the charge for Limerick hurlers against Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile
David O'Callaghan, Dublin, in action against Richie English, Limerick. Photo: Sportsfile
Limerick goalkeeper Nickie Quaid dives to his left to save a penalty from Dublin's David Treacy. Photo: Sportsfile

Paul Keane

Limerick manager TJ Ryan chose the platform of a rare quarter-final victory to vent his frustration about apparent criticism from local commentators whom he labelled "vultures".

Limerick's first quarter-final win in 10 years, revenge for last year's heavy defeat to Dublin, was made possible by a 1-9 scoring contribution from returning Na Piarsaigh players Kevin Downes, goalscorer Shane Dowling and debutant Ronan Lynch.

But a routine question about the trio and their return to action following AIB All-Ireland club success on St Patrick's Day was enough to set Ryan off. The Na Piarsaigh players were absent as Limerick lost to Clare in the final round of Division 1B games - a result that denied them promotion - and Ryan reacted strongly to the suggestion that having them back was a "big boost".

"Ah, hi, look, Jaysus, it's as clear as the nose on your face," said Ryan. "You know what I'm saying? Unless you were blind.

"There's eight lads from Na Piarsaigh on our panel. We were missing 25 per cent of our panel for the whole league.

"Missed them (Kilmallock players) from club championship last year, missed players the previous year. In three years in Division 1B, this team has lost only two round-robin games and in both those games we had a man sent off. You know what I mean?

"Let's get real about it. Some of the stuff that's been written - and I'm not blaming ye lads - it's just been wrong."

The quarter-final was Limerick's first at that stage since 2006 when they went on to contest the final.

Asked if the strong performance and morale-lifting result was vital in the wake of their four-point defeat to Clare, Ryan nodded and continued his attack on local media.

"Vital, vital for the squad," he said. "Like, if you come down to Limerick and see some of the vultures we have down there and read what's being said. There's hidden agendas all over the place.

"There's hidden agendas against this squad, against some of the backroom team.

"From a Limerick point of view, I'd like to thank the supporters who came here tonight.

"Look, this team is working hard. It is very young, right? We go from one extreme to the other. We go from talking about All-Irelands to talking about sacking managers. Let's get real.

"We're in a league semi-final, let's get real. Let's talk about winning the league.

"Look, there's hidden agendas all over the place in Limerick unfortunately.

"It's been part and parcel of my reign. It's frustrating.

"Tonight is very pleasing. We're delighted for the squad, delighted for the backroom team, delighted for the people who came here and delighted to be in a league semi-final."

Ryan got his tactics spot on at Parnell Park, a venue that Dublin have made their fortress this season, and deployed Lynch as a sweeper.

He dovetailed superbly with centre-back Diarmaid Byrnes and between them they fired four points as Limerick took control of the contest early on. Limerick led by 0-13 to 0-9 at half-time and though Dublin fought back to level terms with a third-quarter revival, they never took the lead in the contest.

David Treacy had the opportunity to move Dublin ahead but his 53rd-minute penalty was saved by Nickie Quaid and, 90 seconds later, James Ryan stole a ball in the Dublin defence and fed Downes for Limerick's goal.

The Shannonsiders moved five clear late on before leaking a 75th-minute goal when Treacy flicked to the net in the last action of the game.

"The players were disappointed with their first-half performance," said Dublin manager Ger Cunningham.

"The weren't as composed on the ball as they had been all year. We were trying to get a bit of pride back and we got a bit of a reaction in the second half and got back into it. But the penalty save and their goal going in below at the other end probably summed up the game for us."

Cunningham had no information when asked if Conal Keaney or any of the Ballyboden St Enda's players who won AIB All-Ireland club football medals on St Patrick's Day would be returning to his panel.

Scorers - Limerick: S Dowling 0-6 (4f, 1 '65), K Downes 1-2, D Byrnes 0-3, T Morrissey, B Nash, G O'Mahony 0-2 each, P Browne, R Lynch (1f), J Fitzgibbon P O'Brien 0-1 each. Dublin: D Treacy 1-8 (7f), N McMorrow 0-4, E Dillon 0-3, D O'Connell 0-2, F MacGib, D O'Callaghan 0-1 each.

Limerick - N Quaid 7; S O'Brien 7, R McCarthy 7, R English 7; D Byrnes 8, W McNamara 6, G O'Mahony 7; P Browne 7, J Ryan 6; S Dowling 7, B Nash 7, T Morrissey 6; G Mulcahy 6, K Downes 7, R Lynch 8. Subs: P O'Brien 6 for McNamara (50), G Hegarty 7 for Mulcahy (54), J Fitzgibbon 7 for Dowling (59), C Lynch 6 for Morrissey (65).

Dublin - C Dooley 7; E O'Donnell 6, C O'Callaghan 6, O Gough 6; J Madden 6, L Rushe 7, C Crummey 6; D O'Connell 7, J McCaffrey 6; S McGrath 6, N McMorrow 7, D Treacy 8; D O'Callaghan 6, F MacGib 6, E Dillon 7. Subs: D Plunkett 6 for McGrath (32), M Schutte 6 for MacGib (48), S Barrett 6 for Madden (59), B Quinn 6 for McCaffrey (65), O O'Rorke 6 for O'Callaghan (68).

REF - B Gavin (Offaly)

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