Friday 20 September 2019

'They fell into the trap of believing their own hype' - John Mullane accuses Limerick of championship complacency

Cian Lynch of Limerick in action against Stephen McDonnell, left, and Bill Cooper of Cork during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 2 match between Limerick and Cork at the LIT Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Cian Lynch of Limerick in action against Stephen McDonnell, left, and Bill Cooper of Cork during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 2 match between Limerick and Cork at the LIT Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

John Morley

Limerick suffered a shock defeat to Cork at the weekend after the Rebels hit top gear in a second-half scoring flurry.

Meyler's men managed to bounce back against the Treaty county to dampen the reigning league and All-Ireland champion's Munster championship expectations.

Limerick looked unstoppable after backing up their All-Ireland victory with league success this spring. They had built on their panel and seemed to be playing an unbeatable brand of hurling complimented by the fact that they were visibly hungry for more success.

However, Cork had different ideas. Inspired by Patrick Horgan, Seamus Harnedy and Eoin Cadogan, they effectively steamrolled Limerick in what was the Treaty's opening match of the Munster hurling campaign.

Waterford legend John Mullane believes that Limerick's fall on Sunday was largely due to them succumbing to their own hype, having enjoyed so much recent success.

"They just thought we'll rock up, we'll beat Cork easily... yhey got stung on the day and Limerick just fell into that trap of believing in their own hype," said Mullane on the Bord Gáis Energy Throw-In podcast.

Mullane was disappointed that John Kiely's men failed to take the game to Cork sooner, as he felt they were expecting to pull away without earning a lead.

"They were waiting for it to happen and I thought all over the field, with the exception of a couple of players like Graeme Mulcahy, Kyle Hayes, I think the players were actually waiting for it to happen rather than making it happen."

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Herald GAA reporter Conor McKeon commented that the loss puts question marks to John Kiely for the first time this year, particularly in their tactics, considering the Limerick starting fifteen rarely changes.

"[Kiely's] starting fifteen is usually set in stone. So, the normal course of events is you change players up. With the players who won you the league, who won you last year's All-Ireland, it will be interesting to see what he does.

"The way they play the game is very clearly defined and I don't see any massive tweaks as to how they set up the next day they go out."

McKeon has not wrote the Treaty men off, as he still sees them making the showpiece of the provincial series in Munster.

"You'd still expect them to probably get to a Munster final, you'd still think to yourself that themselves and Tipperary are out in front," said McKeon.

Irish Independent GAA reporter Michael Verney believes the loss to Cork is a blessing in disguise for Limerick, saying that they are better off fixing their problems now than seeing them raised further down the road in this year's championship.

"[Limerick] have had a setback now, not the worst time to have one, they're after getting a kicking in the first game, they're brought back down to earth and now they have a point to prove again for the rest of the year," said Verney.

"In a way I don't think it's a bad thing for them. It's probably a good time to get a setback. Rather than winning the first game by a point or two and having underlying problems. It's clear, they were beaten by seven points, they were dominated, now it's time to go back to the drawing board and I would be very surprised if they don't come out of Munster still."

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