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'We tend to run away with ourselves, no doubt about that' - call for Limerick hurling patience

The county’s hurling boss admits there is potential but fans will need to be cautious.

Limerick hurling manager TJ Ryan.
Limerick hurling manager TJ Ryan.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

LIMERICK HURLING HAS welcomed two All-Ireland trophies to the county in recent times.

The county U21 side triumphed in Semple Stadium last September and Na Piarsaigh reigned supreme on the club stage in Croke Park in March.

Limerick senior boss TJ Ryan acknowledges the potential that exists in their ranks but still believes there is a need for patience with this current group.

“We tend to run away with ourselves, no doubt about that. Even I tried to say to Limerick people there recently about Mayo recently winning the All-Ireland U21 football championship, which was a great result for them and puts them in the right direction.

“Then when you say to them, ‘will Mayo win the All-Ireland (senior) football final?’, Limerick people will say to you ‘I doubt it’.

But then when you look at the same thing on our own (side), they’re a little bit inconsistent there themselves.
Look the reality is there are a lot of good players in Limerick. Na Piarsaigh were very good. The U21′s were very good last year but they are young.”

As a Limerick player, Ryan saw how U21 success for Limerick from 2000-2002 did not transfer to senior glory. He sketches out the mprovement needed between the grades.

“It’s a big step up. You’re trying to mind them as much as you can. Give them a taste of it. A lot of them have seen action during the league. How many of them will play championship remains to be seen.

“The pace is definitely higher, the physicality and intensity is definitely higher. They need to step up, they know that.

A lot of them will be playing U21 again this year and they are players for the future.

“How many of them will go on to make it longevity wise? I don’t know. (But) their attitude is good and to me, they are heading in the right direction.”

Diarmaid Byrnes lifts the trophy Diarmaid Byrnes lifts the trophy after Limerick's All-Ireland U21 final win. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Ryan feels the pattern of soaring expectations and searing criticism is a wider one in the GAA.

“I don’t like it myself. I try to keep it as fair as we can. But I think the GAA, the nature of it, it’s nearly in every county now.

“I’ve seen after the football league final, after the drawn hurling final, it’s everywhere. It’s easy to criticise, it’s easy to sit on the ditch and unfortunately I think that’s the way the GAA is headed.

“I just think that’s the way sport is gone, it’s a results business now. That’s why the systems in and I think that’s here to stay for the short term anyway.

“The whole betting side of it now, people might get carried away because they might have a bet. Like I’ve been at race meetings and I’ve seen Ruby Walsh coming in and supporters roaring at him because he got beaten.

“But that’s just life. That’s the way it is.”

Tipperary's Brendan Maher with Bill Cooper of Cork Tipperary or Cork await Limerick in the Munster semi-final Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Ryan will be an interested observer for Sunday’s Munster opener between Cork and Tipperary. Limerick will challenge themselves against the victors on 19 June at the semi-final stage after a frustratingly mixed league campaign.

“That’d be my expectation that we will be better come championship. As I said we will have a little bit of time to prepare for June 19th.

“But I still would have liked if the league was better, if there was a little it more consistency there, I would have liked if we were better in Ennis and I would have liked if we were better in the second-half against Waterford.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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