Kiely hails Limerick's third-quarter heroics
By John Harrington
Limerick manager, John Kiely, has hailed the third quarter performance from his players in Sunday’s Munster SHC Final victory over Tipperary that saw them turn the game on its head.
Trailing by 10 points at half-time it looked like they were going to relinquish their provincial crown, but they emerged a different team from the dressing-room and outscored the Premier County by 1-10 to 0-1 in the third quarter before going on to win the match on a final scoreline of 2-29 to 3-21.
“The third quarter performance was our strongest performance in five years,” said Kiely.
“it needed to be. Had to be. It was up there with our best 16 or 17 minutes of hurling. They had to stand up. We were extremely disappointed with our first half performance, really disappointed.
“We know we left ourselves down in many aspects of the game that we pride ourselves on, particularly our workrate. We won’t get away with that in the future if we allow that to happen. We managed to turn the tide today but you won’t do that consistently.
“We didn’t turn up in the first half to a certain extent. Tipperary blew us off the field. They killed us with two great goals off the puckouts, which we didn’t deal with. They had a plan and they executed that plan really well.
“In the second half we came out and engaged way more physically in the game, we carried the ball a bit more forward and our confidence grew after the first couple of scores. Our full-back line, half-back line, managed to get on top, I think, and the puckouts weren’t causing us as much trouble as they were in the first half.”
The Limerick players and management stayed on the field for a long time after their win over Tipperary, soaking up the adulation from their supporters.
Having not had the opportunity to play in front of them last year you could see it meant a lot to the players to connect to the energy of the crowd again.
Kiely enjoyed the buzz, but warned his players must now refocus for the challenge of the All-Ireland semi-final.
“You only had 6000 odd here, it felt like you had five times that, it was just an incredible occasion,” he said.
“But listen, we’ve been here before – Munster final in 2019, so it’s really important now for us to put it behind us, get back on the training field this week and for the lads that trained so hard this morning in Kilmallock, for them to push hard to get into our group of 26 on match-day.
“Coming out of Thurles the last day we knew we were going to have to be a better team today, we weren’t a better team in the first half, and we’ve got to learn a lesson from that, it’s really important, because we just cannot have a first half performance like that the next day.”