John Kiely looking to build on opening win over Cork as Kerry make trip the Gaelic Grounds.
Limerick face Kerry in the second game of the Coop Superstores Munster Hurling League on Sunday with a 2pm throw in at the Gaelic Grounds.
A five point opening win over Cork in the opening round saw Limerick play some good hurling and even though Sunday’s game it is only a preseason work out Limerick manager John Kiely says his side are looking to ingrain a winning mentality and generate some momentum prior to the national league.
“We’ll be looking to build on that now again for the next number of weeks and get a couple more wins under the belt. We’re training hard at the moment and the games are challenging at the weekends as well because fellas have a lot of work done during the week but that’s just par for the course, all the other teams are in the same boat, they’re all working hard this time of the year.
“Out of the Munster league itself we’re looking to get a bit of game time under our belt before the national hurling league starts on the 28th of January with Laois at home in Limerick and we’re looking to give some of the younger players an opportunity to get some game time under their belt as well. There’s a number of different factors involved.”
Once again getting out of 1B will be a major goal for John Kiely and his charges this season but with a division including Dublin and All Ireland Champions Galway, it promises to be a big challenge for a relatively young Limerick side.
Limerick have Clare and Kerry remaining in the Munster Hurling League and will be looking to give as many players as much game time as possible. Kiely admits the that Limerick have their eye on the 28th of January and the visit of Laois to the Gaelic Grounds.
“It’s our second season so we’re anxious to settle the team down early on and just get an idea where we’re going to go with the team straight into the league. We’re probably looking to settle it a lot earlier than last year. We were a lot more experimental last year, we had a bit of time on our side but I think this year we’re looking to settle it down, getting a couple of wins under the belt and start making a bit of progress.
“Getting the team confidence up as well is just as important. We had a long lay off, we haven’t been involved since last july, we’ve had a lot of time to think about it. The season is going to be a rollercoaster season, almost a game a week pretty much right the way through the whole season bar a couple of little gaps here and there which are very small.
“Its going to be a different season, one like no one before. We’re looking forward to it immensely, players are working really hard at the moment. There’s a lot of excitement around the season ahead but at the same time we’ve got to knuckle down and get our work done now over the month of January”
The 2018 season is going to be new ground for the hurling championship with round robin structures for the Munster and Leinster Championships and a new format that will guarantee 4 championship games for Limerick this year.
Kiely is welcoming the new formant and all the challenges that will undoubtedly come with it.
“From a players perspective I think its much better to have a lower training session to game ratio where as before you could be training for three weeks before a game, or four even, even five if you got to a semi final. This way around you’ve four games over five weeks in the championship it self.
“The league is running off with only one week off in the middle of it. It’s a much more tighter schedule. It will free up time for the clubs at the end of the year and it will free up time in april for the clubs as well.
“We haven’t been through this campaign before, no county has, it will be a learning curve for all of us as we go through it, I’m sure at the end of the year we’ll have other opinions on it but for the moment it is what it is, the decision has been made. I think the players are looking forward to all the games. I think it’s going to be great to get a greater number of players involved in championship action come the months of may and June”
The team named for Sunday’s clash withe Kerry sees six changes with Pallasgreen’s Daragh Fanning and William O’Meara (Askeaton) coming in for debuts.
Kiely says the blooding of new players is an important part of building a quality panel and that Sunday’s game will be no different.
“Between last year and this year quite a lot of players have gotten their debut now at this stage so there might be one or two more yeah but not in as big a number as we experienced last year. I think it was great to see the likes of Seamus getting in and doing so well last week, that was real confidence builder for him and it’s a nice foundation for him to start off on and we hope that he’ll build on that over the coming weeks and months ahead.
“We’re looking forward to one or two more boys doing the same thing over the coming weeks. But just have to wait and see, there get the opportunities as I said earlier they’ll just have to seize the opportunity and go with it”