Limerick's tactical reaction to the enforcement of the handpass rule in hurling has come to fruition, says Derek McGrath.
A crackdown by match officials during the Allianz Hurling League was evident – referee Seán Stack awarded five frees for the offence in the Cork v Limerick game alone – and that trend has continued into the championship.
The Leinster and Munster championship games so far have seen a growing number of players penalised for throwing the ball rather than a clean strike with the hand.
Speaking on the RTÉ GAA podcast, former Waterford manager Derek McGrath was impressed by what he saw from the All-Ireland champions in a hard-fought seven-point win over Tipperary, often opting to go for a stick pass rather than a hand pass.
As far as he is concerned, it shows that John Kiely, Paul Kinnerk and the backroom team have been working hard in training to avoid turning over possession for such an offence.
"They are a team that have reacted best, so far, to the constant whistling in terms of hand passing," he said.
"Tom Morrissey, I think he was blown for three against Waterford. I watched the first ball he got yesterday. He has a very distinct way of handpassing. I think it is a handpass all day long, but I’m one of the only people who think that, but that’s fine.
"They altered it yesterday with lots of little 'Brick Flicks' as we call them down here, side flicks to get the ball out fast
"I’d imagine they have worked brilliantly on that over the last few weeks, discussing that from a skill point of view."
Coming into the match as huge underdogs, Tipperary were level with the Treaty men with six minutes remaining before Limerick pulled clear to make it three wins from three.
McGrath credits Tipperary with bringing a clear gameplan and no shortage of hunger, but is unsure as to why the winners took so long to find their groove.
"They weren’t as emotive as they were against Waterford. Maybe they didn’t have to be."
From a personnel point of view, Seamus Flanagan made his injury return, Peter Casey is nearing his comeback and Cian Lynch could be back for the All-Ireland series, but McGrath feels that the Tipperary display will have left Kiely with plenty of food for thought.
"I’d say John is furious with the overall performance
"Reading between the lines and looking at his body language, I don’t think they were at the pitch of what they normally are.
"It’s probably worked out for them on the back of the result, but I’m not so sure overall."
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