Another Croke Park date for John Kiely and Limerick to savour

Limerick manager John Kiely paid tribute to his panel yesterday for maintaining their standards since winning last year’s All-Ireland success, saying “all the credit goes to the players” for kicking on to reach the Allianz League final.

Another Croke Park date for John Kiely and Limerick to savour

Limerick manager John Kiely paid tribute to his panel yesterday for maintaining their standards since winning last year’s All-Ireland success, saying “all the credit goes to the players” for kicking on to reach the Allianz League final.

“If you said to me last September ‘you’ll be in the National League final come March’, I would have said ‘I don’t know about that’, because there were so many unknowns as to how things would pan out.

“All the credit goes to the players, that’s the bottom line, they’ve been absolutely superb. We have a load of work still to do, we know that, but I can’t fault them for their application and their energy in terms of engaging with what we’ve been doing with them over the last four months.

“I’m delighted to see them back in Croke Park and back in a national final again. It’s a great way for us to maybe tie up our preparations at this end of the club month.

“We know we’ll come back at the other side of the club month and do three or four weeks work on that side (ahead of the championship).

“For us to sign off with the league I think it’s something to look forward to next weekend.”

Kiely said he felt yesterday’s semi-final win over Dublin was a game that lacked a pattern.

“It was a bit of a frustrating game at times as today’s game never found a rhythm.

“Scores were hard got for both sides, and it just never developed a pattern of play. I thought maybe the last 10 minutes was probably the only disappointing element to it, in that I would have like to have done it a bit more comfortably in the finish.”

Dublin boss Mattie Kenny was taking the positives from the game: “We said all along that we wanted these games at this time of the year in this part of the league because we knew that the quality of the matches would test us more and we knew there’d be better lessons to be learned, so we were delighted with the character the lads showed there today. Nobody was dropping their heads and they fought until the final whistle.

“The league has been good for us and we learned a lot along the way. We’ve a few big players to come back: Conal Keaney, Liam Rushe, Cian O’Callaghan and Mark Schutte and they’re going to be a huge injection when they come back.

“We’ve got to get back down to preparing for the championship, which is seven weeks from today (Sunday). That’s our aim, to get these guys ready. The next real action they’ll get will be with their clubs in April. None of those (missing players) are too far away, a few more weeks and we hope to keep rehabbing them and hope they get some competitive hurling when the club championship comes around.”

First-half injuries were a factor in yesterday’s defeat, he added. “The first-half was very competitive and we went about their business very well. We worked really hard. But we picked up three injuries and I felt we were kind of in the position to do a bit of damage on the scoreboard, but the injuries kind of broke our own momentum.”

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