“We are not a spent force,” blasts Kearns, who says that relegation from the league’s top flight was just a hiccup.
Kearns is angry that his team have been dismissed not just nationwide, but also by their own supporters.
Conceding that there was a lack of interest in the big game by Shannonsiders, he refuses to accept that their opponents are in the super-power mould.
Said Kearns: “It is a source of annoyance that we have not been given the credit we deserve. We were the only team in the country to give Kerry a fright on their way to All-Ireland glory last year, and in fact, should have beaten them in the drawn Munster final at the Gaelic Grounds.
“We were given no chance in the replay in Killarney, but went within a few points of them.”
In other years, he continued, when the Kingdom were not such a powerful force, Limerick would have won a couple of provincial titles and bridged a 110 years gap.
“We just happen to hit them when they were beginning to peak. We did at least beat them in the league, but it is the championship that matters.”
Despite a recent dip in form, Kearns is adamant that the best has yet to be seen from his young team.
“Our preparations were badly hampered by a string of injuries through the winter months and into early spring. At least we now have midfielder Jason Stokes and goalkeeper Seamus O’Donnell back in the squad and ready for action. Both are very influential players.”
Kearns, who is likely to stand down after six years in the job when Limerick surrender their interest in this summer’s championship, predicts that like other games between the counties in recent years, there will be only a kick of the ball in it tomorrow.
“My only worry is that we have not had a competitive game since the league, and that was 11 weeks back.
“Kerry have seen much more action and must be viewed as the form team. “If we were to beat the champions it would be the biggest shock in the modern era. And that is exactly what we intend to do.”