John Kiely: ‘We were down to 14 men and still looked like we’d 15 on the field’

Conor Lehane is likely to escape punishment for his involvement in an off-the-ball incident, which Limerick manager John Kiely reported left Richie English with badly-bruised ribs.

After a break in play, referee James Owens consulted with his assistants before electing only to speak to the pair having earlier sent off Aaron Gillane for what Kiely believed was a similar incident.

Although Owens may be deemed not to have dealt with the matter and the altercation could be retrospectively pursued by the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) tomorrow, there is not believed to be TV footage of what occurred.

Kiely, who approached Owens at half-time about the matter, didn’t see the Gillane sending off but claimed Seán O’Donoghue’s injury didn’t compare to that of English’s.

“We had a situation at the other end of the field where our player Richie English and I can tell you, I feel like issuing a photograph of the state of his rib cage after what was done to him.

“It was worse than what happened at the other end of the field, I can assure you that. There was no card issued in that situation so it was inconsistent.

“I know that lads have a tough job refereeing the games. It is very difficult. There’s a lot happening, you’ve to get up and down the field but I just think what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

“We’re not looking for players to be sent off on either side. We want all the players on the field for as long as possible.

“I just think the first situation could have been dealt with more common sense. It shouldn’t be the story of the day, that sending off.

“The story of the day is the manner of our performance in the second half where we were down to 14 men and we still looked like we’d 15 men on the field. That’s the difference.”

His counterpart, John Meyler, who felt the sending off led to an open game which he claimed didn’t suit Cork, is happy that their fate is in their own hands with their one game to go, against Waterford in Thurles on Sunday week.

“I’m perfectly happy sitting here with four points. We’re unbeaten and that’s how we look at it. We came unstuck midway through the second half today and Limerick got three points ahead of us and in fairness they played really well for that period. But for us to come back with three points there at the end and show fantastic character and we showed that last week against Tipperary as well. Playing three games in 13 days was hard but the lads really rose to the occasion in the last five or 10 minutes.”

He added: “We’re unbeaten and that’s the important thing and we bring that to Thurles in two weeks. Playing Waterford up there is going to be extremely hard and competitive. We know what we have to do.”

Asked if the draw was a statement of Limerick’s intent, Kiely returned: “I don’t know about a statement, but I think it’s a reflection of where the team is at. The team is in a great place. There’s great unity, you see all of the extra panellists that didn’t get a chance to play, there’s huge unity in this group.

“It’ll take a fair effort for anyone to go down between the two of them. It’s fantastic to have such a great group. I’m very happy with what we’re doing, I’m looking forward to going back on the training ground during the week, knuckle down and getting ready for Waterford.”



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