Former Limerick hurling captain Mark Foley believes the All-Ireland champions can’t afford to hold back and must go direct against Tipperary if they want to progress in the Munster championship.
Speaking to Shane Stapleton and Michael Verney on OurGame, the two-time All-Star winner feels that while teams this season are asking questions of Limerick tactically, he hopes his native county will answer them this weekend.
“The teams that caused Limerick trouble, for different reasons last season, were Kilkenny, Clare, and Galway, and what they all did was they pushed up on Limerick,” Foley said.
“And that’s what Clare and Waterford did this season too. That’s asked different questions this year for Limerick, and I don’t think they’ve fully answered them yet.
“If you look at the Clare game, there were times when there was huge space in front of Aaron Gillane and Seamus Flanagan that would’ve got them out of pressure from the press.
“But for whatever reason the Limerick players opted not to go direct. They’re still playing through the lines.
“So, assuming Tipperary don’t play any differently, which I don’t think they will, I’d like to see Limerick start going direct inside and cause damage.”
The four-in-a-row chasers have been coping with rumours this week that several of their players have opted out of the county panel, as well as dealing with the injury blow of Seán Finn.
“Seán Finn is a huge loss, not only for his man-marking but also his distribution. Unfortunately, Cian Lynch is not fully back from injury yet.
“That’ll take time, let’s just hope he’s ready come the latter stages of the championship.”
In focusing on Tipperary’s issues, Foley acknowledges what a miss Jason Forde was against Cork, but the introduction of Alan Tynan to the panel this year has been very positive in midfield.
“I think Alan Tynan has brought some serious graft and work rate to Tipperary. He also has a brilliant range of scoring and added a lot of energy to Tipp in the middle,” Foley said of the former Munster rugby star.
“That also allows Noel McGrath to go free and let him play his own game. I think if Jason Forde was on the field against Cork, I believe Tipp could’ve won that game by nine or 10 points. Tipp really bossed that second half.
“Where they allowed Cork to come back in was the fact that Tipperary missed their own frees and that’s really why in terms of hitting them points and seeing the space, that is where Forde is really missed.
“Looking at the games so far this season, Tipp have a real goal threat. For Limerick, it’s important to keep a clean sheet.
“Jake Morris has to step up and have a good game for Tipperary this weekend.
“I notice any team Liam Cahill takes over they always have eyes for goals. So, if Tipperary see any space down that middle channel, they need to attack it and go for the juggler.
“For Tipperary to be seen as serious contenders they have to put in a serious performance.
“They’re more direct, they’re skilful and they use the whole field, I just think Limerick have a little more in them at this point in time, but Tipp are coming and there will be nothing much between them.”
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