Kiely and Cahill reflect on hard-fought Munster Final
By John Harrington
Limerick manager, John Kiely, was thankful for another big impact from his subs bench after today’s Munster SHC Final victory over Waterford.
Seamus Flanagan and Adrian Breen both scored with their very first touches of the match after coming on as second-half subs when the game was still very much in the melting pot.
In a contest of fine margins, those scores gave Limerick a real impetus coming down the home stretch when they just about burned off the plucky challenge of Waterford.
The Shannonsiders have now won back to back Munster titles for the first time in 39 years, an achievement that hadn’t quite sunk in yet for the Limerick manager in the immediate aftermath.
“I suppose listen we haven’t had much chance to absorb it really,” said Kiely.
“Definitely delighted to have come through the three games.
“It’s been a tough couple of games, tougher than people might have realised up to today even.The matches have been quite physical and taken their toll on the lads.
“You know, today wasn’t our best performance, we made a lot of errors at times. But all credit to Waterford, they put a lot of pressure on us.
“They were in our faces from the word go, they were very well organised.You know they hung in there and made it very, very difficult for us.
“And you know were it not for the push that the lads made coming off the bench made in the last ten minutes, I don’t know would we have got across the line.
“We showed great resolve at that stage of the game, in our defence in particular. There were a number of occasions there where they were strong on the attack and we were just very resolute in defence and turned them over and brought the ball back out and went down the field and got a couple of scores to seal the deal.
“But absolutely delighted to have won a second Munster title. It’s a long time since 1980, so hopefully we can build on it you know.It took us a long time to get back to this point from when we were last there.
“And we’ve two weeks now to get ready for the next game.”
Waterford pushed Limerick all the way in what was a ferociously contested match, but manager Liam Cahill felt afterwards they could have played even better.
“Yeah, disappointed,” he said after the match. “We came here with real belief that we were going to win the match, we had to. That’s what I believed I have in this crop of players. In fairness they gave everything out on the field, probably didn’t hurl as well as I expected us to. Maybe we weren’t allowed.
“I just thought there was a little bit more in us and hopefully we can recover now and bring out what we’re capable of a bit better in six days’ time.
“I thought we got muscled out of a lot of the ruck ball and we just didn’t attack the breaking ball the way I think we’re capable of but, again, formidable opposition like. Against Limerick you have to be winning your fair share of them areas so I suppose, look, you have to be taking chances too.
“We didn’t create a goal chance today or a real obvious one anyway, with the exception of that last pass to Austin going through, maybe if he had to get on the end of that things might be different but we needed goals and we needed maybe more than one to win the match and that didn’t happen.”
Whatever about making a full recovery physically for an All-Ireland SHC quarter-final against Tipperary or Clare in six days time, you get the feeling that Waterford won’t suffer a mental hangover from this match.
They got so much right both tactically and in terms of attitude that they will surely take many positives into next weekend’s game.
“Oh yeah, it’s great,” said Cahill. "From today there are a lot of positives. We went hip to hip with one of the best teams…what most of the country believes is the favourites for the All-Ireland so once you’re doing that you’re good and competitive and you’re at the top table and the challenge for us now is to recover and refocus and give ourselves the chance of getting to the last four of the Championship.
“That’s the priority now so all hands on deck from tonight on to refocus the mindset, refocus, energise the bodies and whoever we get in the draw tomorrow morning that we’re ready to go again in six days’ time.”