A dejected Liam Sheedy had no excuses following his side’s heavy loss to Limerick in the Munster final on Sunday.
Despite a promising show from Tipperary in the opening 20 minutes of the encounter, the Premier county found themselves out-muscled and out-worked by the All Ireland champions in the second half and fell to a 2-16 to 2-14 defeat.
Speaking after the game, Sheedy admitted that his side “lacked energy” despite the boost that timely goals from Seamus Callanan in the first half and John McGrath in the second provided.
“We went in losing by two points, probably still in the game. They got a few early scores in the second half, the goal gave us a bit of a lifeline, they went six ahead again, we got a chance and Seamie was very unlucky that could have brought it back to three.
“Ultimately Brian was the busier of the two goalies all through. We just didn’t really find our flow today. You have to credit Limerick for that, they sucked the air out of us, they brought all the energy, we lacked energy in every sector.
“Brendan Maher and Ronan Maher were outstanding all day but ultimately we lost too many individual battles and therefore overall we lost the war.”
It was a role-reversal from the meeting of the side’s in Semple Stadium just two week’s ago when Limerick, without key players such as Declan Hannon and Gearóid Hegarty, were out-shone in every department by Sheedy’s side.
However, with those players reinstalled, Limerick’s work rate and hunger was undeniable in the provincial decider and the Portroe man was quick to praise his opposition.
“Full credit to Limerick, they’re a fine side. We knew they’d up it a gear but they went up a fair few gears today and they just seemed to have more energy than us on the pitch.
“We know from the tackle count, they were ferocious in the tackle. Up front, they worked us really hard and turned us over. Even the second goal that they got came from a turnover. They worked really hard off the ball and that’s something we’ve got to learn from.
“When there’s a green wave coming at you in Limerick, it’s hard to stem the tide. We had lost the energy. I was delighted to see us hitting a few points and hitting the side-netting, we could have picked up 1-2, 1-3 in those last few minutes but ultimately it was only going to tidy up the scoreboard.
“We had patches of good play but never found the form we’ve shown in Munster to date. As a result, we find ourselves as runners-up in this competition.”
Tipperary must now wait to discover their next opponents as Dublin face off against the Joe McDonagh champions, Laois, in the preliminary quarter-final next weekend.
Given their performances throughout the round-robin stages, Tipperary were highly fancied to reach the All Ireland semi-finals. However, Sheedy is aware that his side now have a massive battle on their hands to recover from Sunday’s defeat.
“To my lads, four times in Munster they’ve gone to battle and four times they’ve done very well and just today we came up short, came up well short.
“Of course, it’s a worry, we only have two weeks to turn it around but turn it around we will. There’s a very good dressing room in there, there’s a very committed bunch.
“They’re hurting right now but for us, the healing process starts this evening. We have to think about two week’s time and meeting significant opposition in the All Ireland quarter-final.
“Previously, you could have found yourself out of the competition but we now have an All Ireland quarter-final to look forward to and that’s going to be our sole focus from the now on.”