Tipperary management team wearing the Dillon Quirke Foundation gear, from left: Tony Browne (coaching support), Michael Bevans (coach), TJ Ryan, Liam Cahill (manager), Declan Laffan and Padraic Maher.
By Noel Dundon
Tipperary selector Declan Laffan had a simple assessment of the draw achieved against Limerick on Sunday. "We should have won it but could have lost it, so we are happy, because we are still undefeated in Munster and we will take that,” he told the Nenagh Guardian after the game.
The Loughmore/Castleiney clubman was particularly proud to have watched his clubmate John McGrath tying up the game for the last time and lauded his courage at taking on so pressurised a shot which determined that the spoils would be shared rather than the points going Limerick's way.
"We were delighted to come out with the draw in the end because we felt that it could have slipped away but we responded and got us over the line. It was a real proper Munster championship clash a bit like the old days with a big crowd and a wonderful atmosphere. It was a wonderful occasion. Kudos to John McGrath for standing up there and he showed great steel to do it," he said.
Limerick came storming back at Tipp after the half time break, but Declan pointed out that the management team were full of praise for the manner in which Tipp responded to this assault.
"A feature of our games all year has been that we tend to fall asleep for periods here and there, either coming into half time, or after it,” he added.
“But we would have to be proud of the boys the way they reacted. It was tit-for-tat and when six minutes of injury time was stuck up on the board, you wondered what was going to happen. But we got there and got the draw.”
He expressed satisfaction that the match-ups worked in Tipperary's favour but pointed out that this does not always work out and was also strong in his praise for sub Conor Bowe who came on and struck three great points at a time when Tipp were under real pressure.
"He picked off a couple of huge points at a time when we were struggling and it kept us in it," Laffan said, and added that he was also very happy with the defence which had tightened up considerably from the previous two outings.
"You are always hoping for improvement, but it is still early days for us yet," he said.
Tipperary have Waterford next on the agenda this Sunday (4.00pm) and they will likely have to plan with manager Liam Cahill in the stands having received a red card for his protestations over an important line-ball decision coming near the end of the game.
"It's an emotional game and sometimes we all go over the top, we don't mean to but that's just the sport," Declan smiled.
He added: "It would be great to get to a Munster final in the first year of this group of players and management. It is a big challenge next Sunday again and we cannot take anything for granted.
“Having said that, we would thank the Tipp public for coming in big numbers today and would ask them to do the same again and really drive on this group of players because they are showing that they deserve the support.”