Limerick ‘Ravaged by the Rebels’


Limerick v Cork - Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-FinalRAVAGED – “To cause severe and extensive damage to”. That about sums up Limerick’s 18 point loss to Cork last Saturday 25 evening at the Gaelic Grounds.
The question, after this first round encounter, such was the severity of the beating, is whether the panel and mentors can recover.
Limerick’s next game in anger will be on the weekend of June 29. The dreaded qualifiers. As things stand, Limerick could face Sligo, Armagh, Galway or even Tyrone. Team manager Maurice Horan will be looking for as favourable a draw as is possible considering that the players’ confidence will be the hardest blow to get over.
The build up to the game had some scope for optimism. Limerick had played well in the league and had secured promotion to Division 3 for next season. The return of John Galvin was heralded as a huge boost, (one would fear what the score could have been were it not for the display of the Croom veteran). Limerick’s record against Cork was not all that bad either.
What unfolded was a limp effort against a Cork team who never even had to play to their potential. A lot can be made of the gulf in class in the league divisions. More can be made of Cork’s talent pool, but for Limerick to fail to show up, for the third championship opener in a row (loss to Clare in 2012, preceded by a heavy defeat to Kerry in 2011), the questions left unanswered from last weekend are numerous.
With over four weeks to lick their wounds, the football panel will come back and they will play better. The performance against Cork had all the hallmarks of a trough. Limerick fans cannot imagine their being a lower point to reach.
So, in a positive light, Limerick can hang their hopes of a long qualifier run on the promise that things can only get better.
With Cork winning by 18 being hard to take, the honesty shown by this panel in the past will allow them to realise that it could have been even more.
The job now is to analyse what happened, refocus and plan for the long journey once more. Horan’s teams have been known for their qualifier performances, but can they go to the well once more?
The draw for the qualifiers will be vital. Limerick did reach an All Ireland quarter final with much the same panel. One swallow does not make a summer, much as one heavy defeat does not end a season. There is still hope. There always is.
LIMERICK – Donal O’Sullivan; Andrew Lane, Johnny McCarthy, Mark O’Riordan; Stephen Lavin, Pa Ranahan, Paudie Browne; Bobby O’Brien, John Galvin; John Riordan, Thomas Lee, Seanie Buckley (capt); Ger Collins, Iain Corbett, Eoghan O’Connor. Subs: Derry O’Connor for Thomas Lee (h-t), Seamus O’Carroll for Bobby O’Brien (h-t), Mike Sheehan for Iain Corbett (h-t), Stephen Lucey for Seanie Buckley (51mins), Lorcan O’Dwyer for Mark O’Riordan (55mins).