“I’m sure you’re going to see him in Croke Park” | John Kiely provides positive Cian Lynch update

With a four week break to the All-Ireland semi-final, John Kiely said there won’t be “a hungrier player on the panel” than the Patrickswell man heading back to Croke Park.

It was far from straightforward but for the fifth successive season, Limerick are the Munster Senior Hurling Champions. John Kiely’s men took all thrown at them in the TUS Gaelic Grounds but were able to land the knockout punch against a Banner side who more than played their part for the second year running.

Players stood up all over the field for the Shannonsiders who’s hunger was evident from the throw in, despite their bourgeoning trophy collection.

While last year’s contest went to extra-time, yesterday Limerick were able to get the job done in normal time, with just a solitary point separating the teams at the final whistle.

And for the second year running, the victory was accomplished without two-time hurler of the year Cian Lynch who was kept in reserve following an injury picked up earlier in the championship.

With a four week break to the All-Ireland semi-final, John Kiely said there won’t be “a hungrier player on the panel” than the Patrickswell man heading back to Croke Park.

“Cian has done really really well the last two or three weeks, his injury has taken a lot longer for him to recover from than any of us might have expected, we now have a fantastic opportunity with Cian to take him to the next level in the next three weeks, and I’m sure you’re going to see him in Croke Park in four weeks time, and by God a hungrier player won’t be on our panel than Cian Lynch.”

4 February 2023; Limerick manager John Kiely and Cian Lynch of Limerick before the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group A match between Cork and Limerick at Páirc Ui Chaoimh in Cork. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Lynch’s absence allowed others to step up to the plate with David Reidy starting in just his second Munster final, adding to the appearance in the 2020 decider. Graeme Mulcahy was restored to the XV for the first time since last year’s All-Ireland final with mainstays of this year’s championship, Cathal O’Neill and Peter Casey making their impact from the bench.

O’Neill was one of three players, that featured for the U20s last year, to take to the field for the Shannonsiders on Sunday and Kiely praised the effort of each. Colin Coughlan came in for his second Munster championship appearance, slotting in at wing back while Adam English made his championship debut, chipping in with a valuable point.

“Very difficult game, all because you have two very well matched teams who know each other extremely well and are able to counteract the other’s strengths in a very positive way, that generates a tremendous game. I think we were the better side, we probably could have had a coupe of more scores on the board.

“Particularly pleased with the impact we got off the bench, lads really came into a really phronetic, difficult game, probably the most difficult game I’ve ever had to see lads try get into, I think they coped with it very well, Cathal (O’Neill) and Adam (English) in particular, given the circumstances around the death of his uncle yesterday and having to come and do what he did, I though that was in incredible achievement for a young player on a day like today, just shows the calibre of the individual that he is.”

Without Lynch and Sean Finn, whilst also losing Declan Hannon in the second half, Limerick still found a way and no one will fancy meeting the defending champions in Croke Park in July as they seek to become just the third county to win four on the trot.

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