PAT Ryan’s Limerick senior camogie team pushed reigning All-Ireland champions Kilkenny all the way but eventually came up short in a pulsating league quarter-final in Birr.
Leading at the first water break and the half, Ryan’s side looked poised for a big upset but were made to pay by the champions whose efficiency pulled them over the line.
The loss brought to an end Limerick’s involvement in the league, with Kilkenny moving on to face Tipperary in the last four while Galway meet Cork in the other semi-final.
Despite a vastly improved performance from the disheartening 15-point loss to Galway the previous week, Ryan was delighted with the display from his side but was ultimately disappointed to have missed out on a golden chance to upset the Cats.
Nonetheless, the manager is confident his side can take adequate learnings from the defeat.
“Yeah there are plenty of positives but we are disappointed. At half-time we said we weren’t happy with a moral victory and we were so unfortunate we gave away the goals and didn’t take the chances we created and you have to take them.
“The girls emptied the tank today and that’s all we asked them to do. Kilkenny are a bit ahead of us in progression, they are together a few years. We have made progress and we have to build on that going into championship.
“Games like today and Galway will bring us on. These are the games where you learn and unfortunately we were on the wrong side of the result but we have to learn.”
Prior to throw-in, little was expected of a Limerick side that were overwhelmed by Galway in the final round robin league game a week before the Kilkenny clash.
But heading to Offaly, the team was in buoyant form with the squad fully prepared for the challenge that lay ahead.
And while the nature of the defeat is sure to hurt every individual, the group will respond appropriately with the championship around the corner as Ryan ensured.
“We knew by the girls coming into the game today and at half time that they believed in themselves. We knew by them that they were up for it and were focused. They weren’t saying a lot but they let their hurling do the talking and that’s the most important thing.
“Who could you fault today? If you gave us this at the start of the year we would have been over the moon. But I do think this Limerick side want more and as a management team we want more. Nothing will replace disappointment today but we will wake up and go at it again at training this week. You’re always going to be hurt by defeat but you regroup and get on with it.”
All is not lost for Limerick Camogie in the league however, with the Juniors in semi-final action this weekend as they take on Wexford in Division 3 this Saturday.
Ryan’s team were victorious in two of their three outings, defeating Clare and Waterford whilst drawing with intermediate side Carlow in Round 2.
Their opponents Wexford will head into the game with a 100% record have overcome Down and Armagh in Group 1.
Carlow or Armagh will await the winners in the final.
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