John Kiely: 'These players will respond'
By Cian O'Connell
Following Sunday's defeat against Cork at the LIT Gaelic Grounds Limerick manager John Kiely is adamant that the All Ireland champions must earn a victory against Waterford at Walsh Park on June 2.
That match is now loaded with significance for both Waterford and Limerick, who suffered disappointing losses at the weekend.
Kiely reckons that five points need to be accumulated from Limerick's remaining three Munster tussles to progress to the All Ireland series.
“I see very little chance of us being able to make it through without winning down there," Kiely admits. "I don’t know what the maths is going to be like at that stage, but listen, let’s face it, we’ve lost our first game, we need to get something out of that second game. We have to go and get a result."
There is no shortage of character in the Limerick panel according to Kiely.
“That dressing room is full of guys who are capable of grabbing this thing by the scruff of the neck and there will be a response, I have no doubt in my mind that these players will respond," Kiely says. "They have worked so hard, they’re so committed, they’re so loyal, they’re phenomenal guys.
"They know that they’ll have to double down on what they’re doing and they know that there will have to be a response. There’s no hiding place from this thing. It is what it is, we’ve lost our first game.
"We’re out the next day, we’re going to Walsh Park, we’ve got to get a result. Simple as. We won’t qualify on four points. We’ll need at least five. We’ve got a lot of work to do so first and foremost we need to get two points on the board and we have our next opportunity to do that below in Waterford.”
Kiely accepted that Limerick didn't replicate the standard of performance shown during last summer and at times in a successful Allianz Hurling League campaign this spring.
"Sometimes when things are off, they’re just off and that’s just the way it is," Kiely states. "We were off. We were not on the money and even in the first half there was uncustomary missed pick-ups, missed touches, missed dropped balls, missed pick-ups, poor handpasses.
"There was a litany of stuff that we would just normally do very well, but which we had to work twice as hard to do any way half right and we could see that there was a certain degree of finding it difficult to get into our rhythm. We didn’t get our passing game going and that’s something that we’re going to have to look at."