John Kiely came out of the Limerick dressing room with his hands held up in the metaphorical sense, conceding Clare were the better team.
However, he said his side’s three games in a 14-day spin had been too much for them, even if he didn’t detect tiredness in the build-up .
“I think playing that level of a sport so intensely over a short period of time you really would need to be professional. That is the bottom line. I think next year they’re going to put in a gap weekend for everybody. I’m not using it as an excuse. I don’t want it to be an excuse, it’s not. The bottom line is Clare were better than us, they had energy all over the pitch and they were so efficient in the second half playing against the breeze. It probably suited their style, but we just failed to grab any momentum in that second half. It’s a setback, but I’m sure it’s one we can absorb and can bounce back from,” said Kiely.
“We did really well in the first half. We came in three points down at half-time, which wasn’t an insurmountable lead. I was quite happy with where we were at half-time and we got a reasonably good start to the second half, but I think you saw very quickly the team running out of energy. That was the biggest problem in the second half.
“All credit to Clare, they found energy in that key spell in the final 20 or 25 minutes and they worked the ball really well through the lines and they pushed on and won the game on merit. They deserve their place in the Munster final.
“For us, it’s onto the winners of the Joe McDonagh Cup and a prize at stake that’s huge, a place in the quarter-final.”
The challenge of facing Carlow or Westmeath in 20 days’ will not be taken lightly.
“We’ll prepare the same as we have for every other game. We’ll do the exact same review as we would for every other game and take it with the same amount of seriousness as we have for all our games. I’ll reference our game against Antrim in the league. We didn’t do anything different for that, we got our performance right and we’ll be taking it extremely seriously, I can assure you of that, because the prize is too massive.”
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