Sunday 17 December 2017

Cyril Farrell: Astute Allen the perfect foil for 'hip and whip' old-style Treaty

The Limerick squad celebrated with the cup in the Gaelic Grounds dressing room
The Limerick squad celebrated with the cup in the Gaelic Grounds dressing room

Cyril Farrell

John Allen is a very astute manager and I feel his manner suits Limerick hurling.

The Treaty were always in your face, 'hip and whip', old-style hurling and they would be full of enthusiasm and passion. The former Cork manager is composed and calculated.

They are a match made in heaven. I wouldn't be surprised if he had the players in today, cooling them down and debriefing after the euphoric aftermath at the Gaelic Grounds as they ended a 17-year wait for a Munster title.

He has come through the system at Cork, done his time and learned his trade, working his way up, A good manager is a psychologist as well, and I feel that he has that skill. He gets to know each player and learns what makes them tick and he got his reward. Yesterday's final was a great game in a great season. Cork will rue their missed goal chances before half-time and will wonder what might have happened if Pat Horgan had not been – harshly, in my opinion – red-carded, but I feel that Limerick would have won the game anyway. They are just too strong.

After half-time, Limerick scored 0-14 to Cork's 0-5 and their backs were outstanding. Richie McCarthy and Wayne McNamara got better as the game went on.

Up front, James Ryan got stronger while they could afford to release Declan Hannon with the extra man and their subs got six points. It was a sign of how strong their bench was and although the 20-man game is the way hurling has gone, it was especially important in the Gaelic Grounds yesterday.

Limerick's Niall Moran celebrates with supporters after the game
Limerick's Niall Moran celebrates with supporters after the game
Seamus Hickey and Limerick manager John Allen celebrate at the final whistle
Limerick's Shane Dowling lifts the cup after victory over Cork
Limerick's Niall Moran celebrates with supporters after the game
Niall Moran gets swallowed by the home crowd
The Limerick squad celebrate with the cup
Wayne McNamara, Stephen Walsh and Sean Tobin celebrate in the dressingroom after the game
Seamus Hickey, Limerick, gets a pat on the back from team-mate Declan Hannon after scoring a second half point
Limerick’s James Ryan gives Cork’s Daniel Kearney the slip
Sean Tobin, Limerick, in action against Stephen McDonnell and Conor O'Sullivan, Cork
Cork’s Patrick Horgan reacts after missing a goal chance
Patrick Horgan, Cork, is shown a straight red card by referee James McGrath
Karen O'Dea, Kilteely, Limerick and Aisling Kelleher, Ballincollig, Co Cork pictured at the Munster Hurling Final between Limerick & Cork in the Gaelic Grounds Limerick Picture Credit: Brian Gavin Press 22
14 July 2013; Aisling O'Kelly and her twin sister Eadaodin, from Knockaderry, Co Limerick, on their way to the game. Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Final, Limerick v Cork, Gaelic Grounds, Limerick. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

The red card meant Limerick could go with an orthodox forward line with six men up front.

With Hannon withdrawn they were up against it with small men Seanie Tobin and Graeme Mulcahy who are good players but struggled to win ball. When Hannon went in then he might not have won every ball, but he broke enough of it for them to thrive and that gave them the platform to go long.

They powered into it, their half-back line driving them on, with Paudie O'Brien, McNamara and Gavin O'Mahony dominant and the midfield of Paul Browne and Donal O'Grady coming into the game.

I've never seen Ryan score so much and when he starts scoring you know Limerick are going to go well. He is a great workhorse but he usually sets others up.

The scenes at the end were a delight with the crowd rushing on to the field. People may complain, but there is nothing wrong with that. Who was going to stop them?

There was no animosity, it is great for players to see their next-door neighbours, their mothers and their fathers come on to the pitch, to hug them. Croke Park don't want it and it has gone the other way, but I thought it was great to see the outpouring of joy.

Those fans and players were still on the pitch more than an hour after the match, soaking up a famous win and nobody can begrudge them. It is 17 years since they won and they were ready to explode and explode they did.

Irish Independent

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