Cre­gan urges Lim­er­ick to take di­rect route

Irish Examiner - Sport - - GAA - John Fog­a­rty

Éa­monn Cre­gan knows Lim­er­ick will in time reaps the ben­e­fits of a “long-term pro­gramme” but fan­cies they will pose Kilkenny prob­lems to­mor­row if they play more di­rect.

The 1973 All-ire­land win­ner doesn’t want to see any hes­i­ta­tion in Lim­er­ick send­ing the ball into their at­tack.

“If they played more di­rect, I would be happy. I would hate to be a cor­ner-for­ward at the mo­ment be­cause the ball doesn’t come in fast enough. If Kilkenny can be ex­posed, it’s when the ball is moved fast. But if Lim­er­ick play this short pass­ing game we’re not go­ing to get the ball up to the for­wards quick enough and if you don’t do that then you’re not go­ing to score enough.

“If you try to score from 70 or 80 yards out, Kilkenny are go­ing to put pres­sure on you. There­fore, the tac­tics for me would be to get the ball in­side to at least two for­wards as soon as is pos­si­ble.”

De­fend­ers have as much re­spon­si­bil­ity to stop at­tacks as they have in stop­ping them and Cre­gan was wor­ried that too many scores came easy to Clare in the Le­in­ster semi-fi­nal.

“What wor­ries me is that the op­po­si­tion is scor­ing over 20 points so what is wrong with our de­fence? There are play­ers scor­ing against Lim­er­ick who are do­ing it with­out any pres­sure be­ing put on them.”

It’s the se­nior play­ers Cre­gan wants to see stand­ing up for Lim­er­ick in Nowlan Park. Cre­gan says it’s im­pera- tive that young play­ers like Kyle Hayes, who im­pressed against Clare, aren’t weighed down with ex­pec­ta­tion.

“Kyle Hayes is only 19 and still has a lot to learn. He’s play­ing his club hurl­ing with Kildimo-pal­lashenry so his stan­dard of club hurl­ing wouldn’t be as high as the rest of the se­nior play­ers.

“We have a lot of prospects com­ing through but they are go­ing to have to learn the hard way. But know­ing a lot of them they have the heart and they have the in­tel­li­gence. It’s good that they are play­ing one of the big teams but it’s a tough as­sign­ment to go down to Kilkenny and beat them. It’s a huge bonus if they win.

“You just want to see Lim­er­ick refuse to give up. To me, it’s a long-term pro­gramme and the lads com­ing through the acad­emy are do­ing so now and that has taken 10 years. Kilkenny are Kilkenny and, Kilkenny in Nowlan Park, I wouldn’t like to be a Kilkenny player if they lose to Lim­er­ick but stranger things have hap­pened. If Lim­er­ick play above them­selves they might well do it.”

Pic­ture: Diar­muid Greene

Éa­monn Cre­gan: Lim­er­ick should ‘get the ball in­side to at least two for­wards as soon as pos­si­ble’.

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