John Kiely eager to maintain high standards
By Cian O'Connell
Becoming increasingly familiar with collecting silverware Limerick manager John Kiely continues to highlight the importance of sheer hard graft.
That was one of the chief reasons why Limerick returned to the summit in Munster following an emphatic win over Tipperary at the LIT Gaelic Grounds.
Kiely acknowledged the sterling contributions of half forwards Gearoid Hegarty, Kyle Hayes, and Tom Morrissey. "We worked really hard and just didn’t give the Tipp half-backs and midfielders the time to pass in quality ball to their forwards," Kiely remarked. "I think that’s reflected in the scoreboard.
"When you can apply yourself, that high level of work rate, you are going to compromise their ability to get the ball in. It’s going to have an impact on the game, and you’ll probably create some chances yourself. We got a good few scores on turnovers as well."
That was most certainly the case illustrated by Peter Casey's flick which enabled Hayes to blast the decisive goal. Kiely, though, was disappointed with one aspect of Limerick's play accepting his team should have been more clinical converting opportunities.
"We did leave scores after us, there’s no two ways about that," Kiely stated. "Believe me, we left too many - it’s the only possible stain on the performance for me, that we didn’t put it to bed earlier.
"There was a three-four point swing after half-time when we could have six points up, they came up the field and got a goal - a swing of four or five points in about two minutes, and I said to myself, ‘yeah, we’re destined to make this a really tough slog’."
Limerick enter the Croke Park phase of the All Ireland Championship loaded with confidence, but being ready for the next challenge will dominate the green and white agenda now.
"We have to ask ourselves if this is a challenge we can take on now," Kiely admits. "Winning a Munster Championship where there are five games to be played is a challenge. Winning the All-Ireland last year was a huge challenge. "So this is another challenge that is after being laid at our door and it is a brilliant challenge.
"I have no doubt we will sit down during the week and we will lay out a plan for the following three and a half weeks and we will go hard at it. And the challenge for us is to make sure we are right on the day of the semi-final.”