John Kiely challenges Limerick charges to rise again

Limerick manager John Kiely insists there will be no let-up from his side as they face Clare this weekend.

The Treaty men go into the weekend match in what has become “effectively a Munster semi-final”.

Limerick know even a defeat could still see them reach a Munster final but there is no doubt they are going all out for a win.

“Going down to Ennis presents us with a formidable challenge and it’s going to take a big performance from us to get through it,” said Kiely.

After a few days’ rest, Limerick return to training today with a couple of knocks that need minding but Kiely is sure he will have a full deck to pick from on Sunday.

“We are effectively in a Munster semi-final against Clare and want to continue the level of performance that we have been putting in.

“Ourselves and Clare have had a lot of encounters at championship level in recent times and it’s fair to say that they have had the upper hand. It’s a formidable challenge.”

The performance of Shane Dowling in his first championship game of the season has left Kiely with a selection headache as Aaron Gillane returns from suspension.

It’s the kind of selection issue any manager craves but the Limerick boss said it’s not only in the full-forward line where there is competition for places. “Those challenges for selection are there all the time for all the positions. It’s not just the one that’s been highlighted.

“There are selection dilemmas all over the pitch but that’s the way we want it to be. There are selection dilemmas for the subs and it’s a great place to be in. Last year we had dilemmas over injuries and that’s a much worse one to have.”

Kiely has been widely praised after their wins over Tipperary and Waterford, as well as the draw with Cork after being reduced to 14 men, but he is keen to pay tribute to the members of his management team and his players.

“The lads that are doing a lot of the coaching at the moment, Paul [Kinnerk], Brian [Geary], Alan [Cunningham], and Jimmy [Quilty], have done a lot of work with the squad.

“We have put a lot of emphasis on improvement so far this year and that will continue but ultimately the players have applied themselves to what we are doing.

“That’s the most important thing. You can do all the coaching in the world but if the players don’t apply themselves to it, it’s not going to benefit the performance. It’s a two-way street.”

Despite that impressive performance against Derek McGrath’s Waterford last time out, Kiely said Limerick will have to rise to another level if they are to leave Ennis with a victory.

He was not fully happy with certain aspects of the game, saying their accuracy in front of goal is one thing that constantly needs to be improved.

“It was a good performance. We were efficient and have improved from game to game but we will need to play even better than that going forward,” said Kiely.

“There are still areas to work on. We wasted a good few chances so there is a bit of tightening up to be done there. We also conceded a goal again, that’s not something that we want to do in such a fashion again. There are aspects of our play that need work but hopefully we will do that Sunday.

“Clare had a fantastic win over Tipperary and I think it’s fair to say that it will take a very significant performance to beat them down there.”

The team playing at home has proved to be very significant in the new championship format but Kiely is hoping that his men can reverse the trend at Cusack Park.

“Home advantage is a plus but there are opportunities for teams to get a win on the road. We have shown that we can travel well this year and the lads are familiar with playing in Ennis.

“It’s simply going to be down to the performance on Sunday and hanging in there until the last 10 minutes and see if we have the will to push on at that stage.”



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