Limerick manager John Kiely says a place in the 2019 Munster final is not on his mind as his side prepare to face Tipperary in Thurles this Sunday.
The meeting of Limerick and Tipperary is the final game of the round-robin series and Kiely insists his charges would be taking their eye off the ball if they started thinking about anything other than the challenge in front of them at Semple Stadium this weekend.
“I don’t think about it to be honest,” said the Limerick manager when asked about the prospect of reaching the Munster final.
“All I’m looking at right now is this phase of the competition that we are in, which is game four of four within the round-robin.
“The permutations of what might be the implications of a certain result don’t interest me. We know there are nine different permutations that could arise on Sunday.
“If you start thinking about those you are taking your eye off the ball. We simply just have to focus in on the key elements of our own game and get those right. We will deal with the rest afterwards.
“Thinking about Munster final’s or anything like that is only a distraction. There is one sure way of not ending up in one and that’s to start thinking about it. We just need to focus on our performance.”
That’s exactly what Limerick did when they dismantled Clare’s challenge at the LIT Gaelic Grounds last Sunday.
The Treaty men racked up a score of 1-28 against their near neighbours, but the Limerick boss says he wasn’t fully satisfied with some aspects of the display.
“There was lots of positives, but there are a few areas to work on as well. When you sit down and you analyse it and break it down there are areas where there is still work to be done.
“That’s great. It gives us a focus and a focal point for us to hone in on in training this week as well. Our puck outs didn’t go well in the first half and that’s one area we have to work on.
“To be fair to Clare they did a good job on that, but we know that we can do better on it and that’s the carrot for us this weekend is to try and do better on that.”
Limerick are heading for their third Munster Championship game on the trot when they travel to Semple Stadium, while Tipperary have had a two-week run into Sunday’s game.
In 2018, Limerick came unstuck at this stage in Ennis, but Kiely is hopeful Limerick have learned their lesson.
“We have only done it once, so maybe, over a number of years, you will learn bits and pieces as you are going along through it. I would be hopeful that we will cope with it much better this time around. We have been through the process before. We have given them (players) an extra day to recover from last Sunday. Normally we train on a Tuesday, but this week it will be on the Wednesday.
“Joe O’Connor (S&C coach) is all over that with the recovery. Joe is an expert in what he does and the boys have great faith in him and will follow his direction in whatever he identifies as what may be the key points in terms of their recovery.
“When we do train on Wednesday we will train very hard. That’s important too as we prepare for Sunday.” Kiely’s men face a Tipperary side that have eased to three victories from their Munster Championship campaign thus far.
He is well aware of the challenge that awaits on Sunday with Tipperary’s scoring prowess, but insists that each team in Munster has their strengths in that department.
“No matter who you are playing, whether it’s Cork with Patrick Horgan, Alan Cadogan and these guys, every county has marquee forwards that are capable of taking a lot of scores if they are given the opportunity.
“Clearly, Tipperary’s forwards have been moving really well in their games to date. That’s the challenge for us as a unit to defend as best we can and try and limit that as much as we can.
“They have had a good campaign in the round robin series, and have been the most consistent team in the championship to date. It’s a great challenge.”
Limerick have no major injury worries following the victory over Clare. Seamus Flanagan returned from a hamstring problem in that game and showed no ill effects from his cameo, while David Dempsey has returned to full training after missing the Waterford and Clare games with a hand injury.
However, forward Barry Murphy is set for a long spell on the sidelines after the hamstring issue he picked up against Waterford proved to be more serious than originally thought.