Limerick senior hurling manager John Kiely admits he could have done more to honour people after the All-Ireland victory two years ago.
If he had the time back, the Galbally man would have put more thought into the speech he delivered when he brought the Liam MacCarthy Cup to his village following the win over Galway.
In an extended version of Limerick’s celebratory DVD Dreams - An Unforgettable Year set to be released online later this week, Kiely reveals: “Going back to Galbally for myself was just nuts. I wish I was a bit more self-aware that night because there are so many things I would have liked to have said, people acknowledged who are here and not here. You’re just in a space when you can’t have that quality of reflection at that stage because you’re in a bubble.”
Kiely is effusive in his praise of his family, wife Louise and daughters Aoife and Ruth, for the understanding they have shown him throughout his management of the team.
“We can’t do it without them. There’s no doubt that they pay a huge price in terms of the amount of time they have with us and vice-versa. They realise how much it means to us and they’re very selfless. They actually get a sense that there is a greater cause here.
“My youngest girl Aoife wasn’t too happy that I wasn’t around for some particular evening and my seven-year-old (Ruth) turned to her (and said): ‘Aoife, he has to be with Limerick this evening. You just have to get over it!’ That, I’m sure, is reflected in other houses as well.
“But I don’t think any of us regret having got involved and done what we’ve done. It’s been a pure gift to us all to have had the experience we’ve had, to have spent the time we have spent together so far.”
It’s now 11 years since a pitch invasion marked an All-Ireland final victory and Kiely is appreciative of the space and time given to winning and losing players and management to digest the significance of the full-time whistle.
“It’s brilliant that we have the pitch to ourselves to celebrate and Galway in their moment of despair too have the space as a group to come to terms with what they’ve been through and the result of the game. I think that is a really, really positive step because you need that little bit of space and that little bit of time to come to terms with both situations, no matter who is in it and to be able to do that with the people who are involved with you.
“Then your attention turns to your family and your friends and you just want to go and share that moment with them. You probably have blocked them out for quite a period of time because your focus is so singularly pointed in one direction that it’s inevitable that they do get parked in the situation because you can’t have time for everything. So you’re really anxious to engage with them again. I think that’s one of the special elements of it.”
- The extended version of Dreams - An Unforgettable Year can be viewed on Limerick’s Facebook page later this week.