Limerick senior hurling manager John Kiely has described the Limerick county footballers and management as “a super bunch of men” ahead of this weekend’s Munster SFC final.
Kiely, a former Limerick football captain himself (“It wasn’t entrusted to me for a long time”) said: “We know the (football) lads, they train in Rathkeale and we train in Rathkeale, I’ve become great friends with Billy (Lee, manager) over the last few years and we talk on a weekly basis.
“They were based in the Abbey (CBS, where Kiely teaches) for the Munster championship and I was with them there, I had the pleasure of being with them for an hour or two.
“They’re a super bunch of men and they’ve had a fantastic season, getting promoted to Division 2 - what an achievement. We all know that the bread and butter for football teams is the league, that the league is massive. Every manager and every player understands that, so for them to get a double promotion is massive.
“Backing it up now with their championship this year, beating Clare and beating Tipperary, two wins - what a fantastic platform, that’ll give them great belief. It’s great experience and I’m delighted for Billy and the lads.” Kiely said he and his backroom were happy to share their big-day experience with the county footballers.
“Absolutely. We’ve the benefits of being through a lot, and why not share the benefits of that learning with others from Limerick who are doing the exact same thing. We’re all part of the one organisation, just representing it in different ways.
“Myself and Billy have a fantastic relationship and even though we don’t get to each others’ games because of our own fixtures, we’re always tic-tacking with each other the night before or the night after games.
“We wish them the very best and if they can pull off a Munster final in Killarney, it’ll be top class. Phenomenal.
“I haven’t even thought about the weekend for myself, we’ve had a really busy week in school, and we’ve training ourselves at the weekend, so I don’t know if I’ll be there (in Killarney).
“But will I be talking to Billy Lee? Absolutely.” Regarding the hurlers’ injury list, Cian Lynch remains the main concern.
“The group is making progress in that regard,” said Kiely.
“Will it (the Munster final) make a difference to Cian, no it won’t. He won’t be back by Sunday week. Both Barry Murphy and Peter Casey are still making very significant progress in their recoveries and are getting nearer to a full recovery, but again that’s just a little bit off yet.
“Other than that, Aaron Gillane has resumed training, Darragh O’Donovan has resumed training, Darragh just had a small little irritation - hence why we just tried to be a bit prudent with him the last day out. Cathal O’Neill had some ankle ligament damage from the Tipp game, he trained fully last night as well so he’s fully recovered.” Regarding Lynch, Kiely added: “Really with a hamstring injury everything hinges on how that injury rehabs and how the healing process partakes for Cian.
“Every athlete is different, so thankfully Cian’s healing powers are strong and he is healing really really well. He is rehabbing really well.
“But I’m not going to put Cian on the pitch until I know he is 130 per cent and that he’s unbreakable, because he has to be spot on the money when he’s on the pitch. So we’ll keep rehabbing and building and strengthening him until we are satisfied this man is 110 per cent.”