The Limerick hurlers emerged for their Semple Stadium dressing room for the second half with a simple message: Be honest, be better.

The defending Allianz Hurling league champions scored 2-10 to Tipperary's 0-05 in that second 35 minutes to open their defence with a rousing comeback victory in the home of the All-Ireland champions.

It left manager John Kiely with much to ponder. He saw some trademark endeavour, work-rate and scoring efficiency from his charges in the second period, but he was left to wonder how they could be so poor in the first 35 minutes, registering just four points.

"One of our poorer halves in long, long time," Kiely told RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday Sport. 

"We just weren't at the races, we were way off it. We weren't getting to breaking ball, we weren't winning puck-outs, the basics of the game we just weren't executing well at all. We spoke about that at half-time."

Kiely said the half-time analysis was honest, but that his 2018 All-Ireland winners did not need to be told how bad they had been.

"We were honest with the boys on what was not happening outside. They knew that themselves. It did not take a genius to analyse that first half. Four points is shocking.

"We wanted an honest approach to the second half, honest endeavour. We got that reaction in the second half," added Kiely, who saw Graeme Mulcahy and substitute Gearóid Hegarty goal after the break.

"It was a great warning sign for us, that these things can happen. We thought we had our preparation bang on the money coming in to tonight but for whatever reason we just weren't at it. It's a warning shot for us going forward and it's a good time of year to get that warning shot."

Kiely (L) and Sheedy 

Tipperary boss Liam Sheedy was left wondering how his side managed to throw away a nine-point half-time, but he was happy to focus on the positives of a good opening half and a handful of debutants. 

"An absolute game of two halves, we absolutely had the lion's share of the possession in the first half and gave yourselves a platform. Jason [Forde, 0-10,  8fs, 1sl], was unerring from frees and we had a nice flow to our play.

"We started the second half okay but after that, Limerick got on top in the middle third and really came at us in waves and we had no real answer to them in that second half," said Sheedy, who handed Allianz League debuts to Paddy Caddell, Bryan O'Mara and Mark Kehoe.

"The positive is I got some new players onto the pitch, delighted with their contribution. They're all trying to do the right thing. We have loads to work on and we learned a lot tonight. We look forward to February."

Tipperary travel to Cork next Saturday night, while Limerick welcome Galway to the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday.