Limerick manager John Kiely said his team had “made it too hard on ourselves” by letting Clare open an eight-point gap in the first half of yesterday’s Munster SHC semi-final.
Limerick managed to draw level but Clare built another lead and the Shannonsiders couldn’t overhaul them again, though Kiely said it would have been “interesting” if they’d managed to do so.
“We just left them have too big a gap at the outset, the first quarter-twenty minutes. We made it too hard on ourselves, though we responded really well, we took the game to them and dominated there for maybe ten minutes, we closed the gap right up - it was 11 all at one stage.
“We would be very happy with that, probably felt we should have pushed on a bit more even just before the half-time break, because after coming back level, but Clare responded then, and that’s testament to their character as well, to respond when they’d been tested. They’d been in a very dominant position and had left it slip.
“We played with the breeze in the first half as well, which probably encouraged our fellas to shoot a bit more from further out, and that cost us a few points, or definitely cost us in terms of better ball going into the full-forward line, which sapped our confidence a bit too.”
However Kiely was unhappy with Clare’s third goal, from Conor McGrath.
“We were very resilient, I thought, throughout the game, we never gave up, we kept going and going and going, even when it was four or five points away we knew we were capable of getting a couple of scores.
“In the final stages the third goal must have been a square ball, he (McGrath) was in beside Nickey Quaid when the ball was touched. I’d like to see that back again.
“Hats off to our lads, they fought really hard and everyone contributed. Maybe we met a marginally better Clare team on the day, and had we been a little bit more efficient with our ball we could have put more of a squeeze on in that last quarter.
“It could have been a little bit closer, and it would have been interesting to see how that went then.”
Kiely added that he had confronted those in the Clare dug-out after a comment when Declan Hannon went down injured.
“A comment was passed, I didn’t like it, simple as. It was said that he dived (Declan Hannon) and he didn’t dive. Declan doesn’t dive.
“I don’t think any player taking to the field in intercounty hurling that are diving. It was an unfortunate comment but it’s over now and done with. I’m sure when he (the person who made the comment) thinks back on it, he’ll regret it.”
The Limerick boss said he was surprised by some refereeing decisions but “you win some, you lose some”.
He continued: “A couple of decisions (were questionable) but that’s part and parcel, it goes on the whole time. You win some, you lose some. You’re trying to squeeze as much as you can out of it.
"There were a few went against us - towards the end Richie McCarthy had both his arms held and the ball was on the ground. What are you supposed to do?
“There was a ball Shane O’Donnell caught over by the sideline, threw it up and caught it twice but it’s a free in for them, and it ends up in the back of the net.
"Small things make a huge difference at this level. I know everyone’s trying to do their best on the day, but you win some and you lose some in terms of those decisions.”
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