Downes excited by new Limerick management team

Kevin Downes says “everything’s in place” for him and the Limerick hurling squad with the return of TJ Ryan and Donal O’Grady as co-managers on Shannonside.

“I worked with Donal in my first year,” said Downes. “He is absolutely top-class. I’m delighted to have him back, he is a super guy to have. And TJ with him – even our own Paul Beary here, and Mark Lyons.

“It sounds very good. It’s up to the players now – everything’s in place for us now and we’re just looking forward to getting back training again and giving it another crack.

“It’s good. They know the craic and know all the players very well. We know what to expect and they know what to expect, it’s good to have that bit of continuity.”

Downes was speaking after a thrilling Munster club SHC clash between his Na Piarsaigh side and Passage of Waterford. He collected the man of the match award and ensured Na Piarsaigh’s progress with a superb insurance point in injury-time.

“It was kind of an epic game,” admitted the big centre-forward.

“The Munster club is special and on Sunday, again, it could have gone either way. That’s the beauty of it.

“It’s not really about the skill at this time of year – it’s a real battle. That’s what makes it special.”

The Limerick side had to fight to the very end against a Passage outfit which has character in abundance.

“They have,” agreed Downes. “We knew that coming in. We heard about the Waterford final and they were down, what was it, seven points with 10 minutes to go or something like that? They have serious character and we knew we were facing a massive test. Every score in weather like this was crucial and we were hoping to tag on a few points.

“They got the run on us at times but thank God we pulled it out of the fire.

“It’s very difficult but it’s about a battle and who wants it most. The game was very, very even. Maybe a couple of lucky breaks pulls you over the line and we got them.”

Downes was a unanimous selection for the man of the match gong, having tormented Passage all day, winning possession, drawing fouls, and chipping in with six good points from play.

“Any day you get six points you’re happy but the next day out it could be someone else. But you need every score. You can’t afford to be throwing away chances.

“It’s very hard to create anything. No matter who gets them, we’re delighted. We got enough to get over the line anyway.”

Now they’re looking at another club final.

“It’s magical again for the club — a Munster club final. You set out to win the county and after that, you dare to dream.

“We look forward to the final now, whoever we’re playing, Sixmilebridge or Midleton. It’s going to be a massive challenge again but we’ll worry about that on Tuesday night. We’ll get back training and back to the grind.”


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