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'Galway were probably faltering in the last three games. I think Limerick will be very conscious of that'

All-Star hurler Ollie Moran believes that Limerick can hurt Galway in the final stages of the All-Ireland final.

ALL-STAR HURLER Ollie Moran believes Limerick will be ‘very conscious’ of Galway’s recent habit of stuttering over the line as the sides prepare to meet in the All-Ireland SHC final.

Ollie Moran Ollie Moran pictured illustrating pride in his county colours at a media day ahead of this weekend’s GAA Hurling All-Ireland Final. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The defending All-Ireland champions struggled to secure victories in their last three championship outings after building up convincing leads against Kilkenny and Clare  respectively.

Limerick on the other hand produced a strong finish in their semi-final clash with Cork, rallying from six points down in the closing stages to force extra-time and ultimately secure their spot in a first All-Ireland decider since 2007.

Moran believes Limerick have the resilience to survive any challenge that Galway bring to Croke Park, but stresses that the Shannonsiders cannot allow their opponents rush off into an early lead.

“Galway have gotten off to very good starts in their last three games and again ultimately, that’s what won out the day for them,” says the Ahane clubman.

“They were probably faltering in the last three games and hanging on really.

I think Limerick will be very, very conscious of that. I didn’t think Limerick started particularly well against either Kilkenny or Cork.

“Now they weren’t behind and they didn’t get any sucker punches but I feel they cannot afford to give Galway a start. That’s an absolute no-no for Limerick.

“They’re the more experienced team, I think the last thing you want starting an All-Ireland final is to be facing an uphill battle and trying to get momentum and try and get back on top of a team of Galway’s quality.

“I think they’ll be acutely aware of it as well.

“If we can ask enough questions and get scores at the right times and be well in the game coming down the stretch… I do feel we need to be ahead coming down that last 10-minute stretch because Galway are the more experienced team and they’re well conditioned.”

Shane Dowling celebrates Shane Dowling. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Limerick’s decision to close themselves off from the ‘hype’ and excitement has become a discussion point in recent weeks.

Shane Dowling asked for fans to ‘leave the players to focus’ in his post-match interview after their victory over Cork, while manager John Kiely has insisted that ‘hype is for supporters.’

Moran, who lined out for the Shannonsiders in the 2007 final, says the external hype had no negative impact on their preparations for that meeting with Kilkenny and suspects that the cautious approach might be rooted in Limerick’s defeat to Clare during the 2013 championship when they were expected to win that tie.

He understands that Limerick people naturally want to celebrate qualifying for a first All-Ireland final in over a decade, but he also backs Kiely and his team for how they are handling their own build-up.

“Look, they’ve a job to do and they’re job isn’t to please the public. They don’t have a duty to go out and meet spectators or meet the press or do events.

Pete Finnerty Both Pete Finnerty and Ollie Moran have teamed up with Guinness as part of their GAA campaign ‘Bound Together.’ Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“They’re putting their heart and souls into achieving their goals and their goal is to be as successful as they possibly can. Ultimately, that’s going to bring massive happiness to the county and I think that’s been the message.”

He added:

“It’s not that people are coming in on the space or anything like that but I just feel [the message is] ‘let us prepare the way we normally do and let us go out and do what we’re supposed to do and that is perform on the day.’

“I would absolutely applaud John Kiely and the management and maybe the players too. I think the players to be fair, are very, very relaxed, and they’re very grounded.

Ollie Moran and JJ Delaney Moran in action during the 2007 All-Ireland SHC final. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

“I don’t think they’d be very fazed by it but at the end of the day it’s an All-Ireland final, it’s a huge occasion, it’s massive for a county like Limerick as I said. But look, keep a lid on it and hopefully we’ll be celebrating Monday on and they’ll make up for it.”

1973 is the last time Limerick won the Liam MacCarthy Cup and they have suffered All-Ireland final defeats on five occasions since then.

Moran is confident that the players won’t be burdened by the 45-year gap, but says they must make the most of this opportunity to end the famine while they have it.

“I do think that the form this team is in, they have to strike while the iron is hot.

“In Limerick we’re aware you don’t get these opportunities every second year.

We’ve lost five All-Ireland finals since we won the last one, so that’s certainly something that they need to be aware of, that you’re not there to get experience for the next time you’re there.

“Make the most of it when you’re there.”

Hurling legend Ollie Moran has teamed up with Guinness as part of their GAA campaign ‘Bound Together’ which celebrates the power of the GAA to unite, and heroes the fans and their passionate commitment and connection to their local communities. Enjoy Guinness sensibly. Visit www.drinkaware.ie.

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