Limerick appear in their second All Ireland SHC final in three years, a superb achievement from this management and panel of players but this group want more and their focus since the Galway All Ireland semi-final win has focused on performance. Hawkeye Sidekick takes up the narrative.
Limerick enter this final with scope for improvement
The Shannonsiders come into this final battle hardened with their two recent championship fixtures showing massive resolve, bottle and composure to secure victory from Waterford (Munster SHC final) and a determined Galway outfit (All Ireland SHC semi-final) late in those games.
A superb attribute for any side to have the composure to close the deal but the recent games have identified areas for improvement. Officiating crews have clamped down on the Limerick tackling approach, a source of turnover ball and now become a source of scoring opportunity for opposition.
Spotlight on tackling and hand pass technique?
How do Limerick adjust their tackling technique to appease Fergal Horgan but still have the necessary physicality is going to be a fascinating watch. Horgan has officiated Limerick early in this championship season and he pinged Limerick for their tackling early in the game and also called hand pass infringements.
Fergal Horgan in the 2017 All Ireland SHC final decider let the game flow for the opening period and allowed the two teams to physically contest proceedings. Will the referee look to allow the teams to go at it or will he look to ping on technical issues? Who knows at this stage?
Establish the run game as the platform
Besides the officiating issues here, Limerick will look to focus to establish the run game more in this All Ireland final. Waterford nullified the run game threat of Limerick’s half back line and midfield area in the provincial decider. Lynch, Hayes, Byrnes and Hegarty will look to create with their pace from deep it all comes to improved accuracy, decisive decision making with ball in hand.
Improve goal scoring chance output
The inside full forward line will look for scope to improve. Their ability to take point scores has been excellent but the lack of goal scoring execution particularly in the last game against Galway will be honed in on. Flanagan and Reidy had good chances which were thwarted, a little more composure and those goals are scored which would have made Limerick’s life a little more easy.
Hannon performance crucial to Limerick’s performance
For Limerick to win the final, Declan Hannon has to be the prominent performer in the middle third. He needs to orchestrate, game manage and provide a platform for Limerick to establish this run game.
Hannon has had good cameos this season but Galway moved Hannon around the park and provided precious time for the Adare clubman to impose his presence on the game so much so that the captain was called ashore late with the game in the melting pot.
Limerick are in a good spot here. They are in the big dance. They realize that there is scope for improvement. The performances of recent fixtures perhaps has taken the raging hot favorites edge off the side which is not a bad thing.
Limerick know that they are facing a Waterford who will bring superb work rate and physicality to their play. Limerick know that their precision and accuracy has to be at its best for All Ireland final day and given the confidence in this side, I would not be surprised if they deliver their best performance to last. If they do, then it will take a massively impressive Waterford side to win this All Ireland SHC final.