John Kiely guided Limerick to a second All Ireland title in three years at Croke Park.
John Kiely guided Limerick to a second All Ireland title in three years at Croke Park.

John Kiely: 'It was a very defiant performance'

By Cian O'Connell

The game was only a matter of seconds old when John Kiely sensed Limerick were ready.

In his post match analysis Kiely stressed the value of Limerick's first attack when Tom Morrissey mined a point.

"As much as you can have a plan going into a game, we had obviously very high expectations of ourselves in terms of how hard we wanted to work on the day and I think the players delivered on that in spades," Kiely reflected. "They worked really, really hard from start to the finish right across the pitch. 

"It was a very defiant performance. Whatever was fired at the boys, they found a way to cope with it. Going forward, I think we showed fantastic teamwork in terms of our support running and our lines of running, just wave after wave of attacker. 

"I think there were a couple of incidences during the game where, the very first play, that first 40 seconds, it was a very defining moment in the game. 

"We took it forward, there was huge resistance put up against us and we still managed to get the score. That set the tone for us."

Ultimately Kiely guided Limerick to a second All Ireland title in three years.

"Overall, very, very proud of the lads," Kiely added. "They have worked so, so hard. Last year was a huge disappointment to us. 

"To come back into it straightaway and the resolve they have shown, the determination they have shown, the appetite for work they have shown right throughout the year has just been immense."

The 2019 All Ireland SHC semi-final defeat to Kilkenny hurt Limerick, who have responded in brilliant fashion.

John Kiely and Graeme Mulcahy celebrate at Croke Park.
John Kiely and Graeme Mulcahy celebrate at Croke Park.

"I have always said to the lads that we have just got to keep working hard and if you work hard enough, you will keep giving yourself opportunities," Kiely commented. 

"Last year was an opportunity, we didn't take it. This year, we got an opportunity and we took it. It is about giving yourself opportunities and if you keep giving yourself enough of opportunities, you'll take enough chances eventually. 

"You are not going to take them all, we know that. The challenge that is out there is incredible from all teams. But if you give yourself a chance, you have some hope. That's really it."

In a deeply uncertain time, Kiely was simply thrilled that Limerick secured further national glory.

"I am going to enjoy this one now anyway," Kiely stated. 

"Whatever will come after it, we'll worry about it. Living in the world we are living in right now and look at the year we have had, it has just been incredible, so difficult. 

"We are so fortunate to be able to do what we are doing over the last few months. When you look at musicians and people in the entertainment industry and the hospitality industry, and hotels, pubs, these people that can't even open their businesses. 

"We have been able to go out to play matches. We have got to put everything into perspective. It is a fantastic achievement for our players in Limerick, but there are bigger things and please God 2021 is going to herald the arrival of the vaccine and a return to normality for all our people and all our society, and get people back into stadiums. 

"I am sure they will be queueing up to buy tickets for the League, if we can get that vaccine rolled out.

"We have to accept this is a rare privilege to be here for us and to be able to partake in today's game and we always aimed to appreciate that in the last two weeks and to give it a performance it merited given the opportunity we had."