Limerick will need to raise their game from their impressive win over Tipperary if they are to successfully defend their Munster SHC crown against Cork, according to captain Donal O’Grady.
“Cork have been impressive,” O’Grady told RTÉ sport. “They’ve played three games in the Munster championship whereas we’ve only played one, which would have to stand to them.
“And they’ve beaten the All-Ireland champions, which was a big one for them after last year’s All-Ireland final.”
O’Grady indicated that Limerick will have to improve upon the level of performance that helped them beat Tipperary in their provincial semi-final if they are to emerge victorious at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
“We’re hoping we can rise to the level of Tipperary, and add an extra 10%, and if we can, we feel we’re in with a chance of winning it,” he said.
“Cork are a very skilful team, so if you let them loose and let them hurl the way they want to, they can punish your fairly quick.
“We’ll be looking to get stuck in and take the game to them from the word go, and hopefully upset their supporters and gets ours on their feet.”
"I suppose if you let them loose and let them hurl the way they want to, they can punish your fairly quick"
O’Grady said that Limerick’s long gap between their semi-final win over Tipperary and the final “definitely didn’t help us”, even if had afforded them the opportunity to look at Cork and take lessons from their progress through games against Waterford and Clare.
“Look at Cork this year,” he said. “Waterford took them to a replay, and then they came into the Clare game game, with Clare having such a long break, Cork just seem to have that bit more – they played with that bit more high tempo and it got them over the line.”
However, he dismissed the idea that training and practice games wouldn’t be adequate preparation for the Munster final, stressing that Limerick had a competitive squad and giving some indication of the intensity of training.
“The good thing about this year is we have probably 23-24 fellas really pushing to get into that 15, which is great,” he said.
“So those so-called ‘A-B’ games can be as tough and as physical as a championship game at times, even though you wouldn’t have the atmosphere.
“Hopefully now they’ll stand to us.”
After the victory over Tipperary, there were reports that some in Limerick had felt they had not been given due respect as Munster champions, and that their provincial win last year had been somehow discounted.
O’Grady said it did not matter whether people fully credited the win – “we have a Munster medal in our back pockets” – but said it was nice to have the spectators recognise their achievement.
"So-called ‘A-B’ games can be as tough and as physical as a championship game at times"
“Please god, on Sunday, we’ll get over Cork, and they’ll have enough reason to celebrate.”
Reflecting on the Tipperary game, O’Grady said Limerick had “got a run on” the Premier County at a crucial time, and that Tipperary had run out of time to reply.
“I think they played reasonably well in the game,” he said. “They’d be expecting to beat Limerick every day of the week in Thurles, so I suppose there was that bit of anger amongst Tipperary supporters that they didn’t do that.
“We were delighted with our performance down there. We knew that obviously we had to get stuck into Tipp, and take the game to them, and I thought we did that.”