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John Allen, Eamonn O'Shea and Richie McCarthy on their Munster SHC showdown

Here’s what the Limerick and Tipperary camps made of the Gaelic Grounds clash.

Pic: INPHO/James Crombie

Limerick manager John Allen

Pre-Match Mood

“I’m very pleased. I felt we were in a limbo, playing in 1B and not knowing how good you are because you haven’t been playing at the higher grade. So at the back of your head somewhere you’re thinking, ‘well, will we be beaten out the gate?’.

“But two weeks ago we played Kilkenny and beat them and no matter what Kilkenny team you’re playing it’s a measure at least that you’re somewhere up there. I felt totally confident that we would win the game but you can’t say that too loudly in case people think you’re suffering from some type of a dementia!

Effort of players and backroom team

“I’m there two years now and have a better idea of the players we have. Mark Lyons who’s now doing our strength and conditioning has been super and Donncha O’Donnell as coach. I appreciate what these players put in. A lot of the public don’t see the fact or appreciate that they’re all on strict dietary plans, going to the gym, they have to hydrate properly and their lives are totally given over to the game.

Nerves near the final whistle

“I suppose that’s always there and particularly so when it’s a team like Limerick who don’t have a history of winning. You’re talking about ’73 since they won the All-Ireland. They’ve lost out in two finals, ’94 and ’96, so that or lack of tradition of having a winning mentality isn’t there. It was great to see us going from three up to three down and scoring 9-2 in the final period. That was fantastic.

“When you sit down to pick the team to play in a championship game you’re going on form number one, experience, toughness. That’s not to say the fellas we left off don’t have it, but that’s the mix we felt we had to have. We wanted a very hard working half-forward line and a very sharp inside line. Today the substitutions worked, everyone we brought in made a contribution.

Potentially facing Cork in the final

“I’m committed to Limerick and I’m working with a very committed group of people. Cork is Cork. I’m a very proud Cork man, but I’m committed to Limerick now. If it’s Cork, it’s Cork. Most of the players I had are gone apart, maybe, from Tom Kenny.

Pic: INPHO/James Crombie

Tipperary manager Eamonn O’Shea

Setback

“It’s very disappointing. We came into the game thinking it was 50-50.  It looked like we had taken back control in the third quarter but I was never totally happy even at that stage. They had a strong level of desire in their play right from the beginning and we didn’t get into any rhythm.

Limerick’s performance

“Limerick were a team with momentum over the last number of years and I think they played really well to get the game from us. I think hurling, and this is not always understood by those who are not looking closely at the game, there are five or six teams that can win the All-Ireland.

“There is obviously a dominant team in Kilkenny but there are five or six teams very close to each other. It happened today that Limerick beat Tipperary. Limerick are kind of in a false position being in 1B, they’ve got a very good outstanding manager, really talented players and a physical team.”

Public backlash

“Look it’s a serious game. People, supporters have a right to look at the team and demand something from the team and from me. So I don’t mind the public response.

“It matters to a lot of people, it matters to me too. It is up to me to respond as a manager should and that’s what I’ll be trying to do. People will have their views on how we played it. I can’t alter that. All I can do is try to work hard with the players.”

Recovering in their campaign

“We are not out of it we are one of those five or six teams that can challenge for the All-Ireland. I believe in the players and I believe we can get something from this but time will tell.

“We are going to have to look very closely how hard we worked to win a game. We are still alive and it’s up to the management team to get back that momentum but I still have huge faith in this group.”

Pic: INPHO/James Crombie

Limerick full-back Richie McCarthy

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Lessons from 2012

“We learned a lot from last year. Experience means a lot for this young team. Last year really hurt us, losing in Thurles. We weren’t going to lose in the Gaelic Grounds.

“It’s a long time since we even won a championship game – we’ve got the monkey off the back. We didn’t win the League final but this was the main objective, to get into a Munster final.

Nicky Quaid

“Maybe it was my fault, one of them (Tipperary’s goal chances), but when you have the best goalie in Ireland behind you, there’s no fear of you.

“He (Nicky Quaid) is the best goalie in Ireland beyond doubt. We see him in training day in day out, brilliant goalie.”

Coping with the conditions

“It was one of the hottest days I’ve ever played. You need to be taking on the fluids all the time. We made sure to have our water carriers ready. I was slipping back to the goalie getting water every now and then.

“People say maybe we’re not the fittest team but we trained harder maybe than any other county team. It showed in the final ten minutes when we showed our character. Paul Browne going off tapping Cathal King on the back, getting him to go and give it everything.”

Munster final appearance

“It’s like we’re after winning an All-Ireland final. The Limerick public are craving this victory. You need to be playing Munster championship matches to get the most out of yourself.

“I haven’t played one (final) at senior level – I don’t know what it’s about so I’m really looking forward to it.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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