“It’s a special feeling” | John Kiely delighted as Limerick make it five in a row

The Shannonsiders came out on top following a ferocious battle with their rivals, as Aaron Gillane drove John Kiely’s side to victory, scoring 1-11, and picking up the man of the match award.

Limerick have won their fifth Munster championship in as many years as they defeated Clare by just one point in the TUS Gaelic Grounds on Sunday, in what was a repeat of last year’s final. The Shannonsiders came out on top following a ferocious battle with their rivals, as Aaron Gillane drove John Kiely’s side to victory, scoring 1-11, and picking up the man of the match award.

Speaking after the game, Kiely expressed his pride at winning the title at home on the Ennis Road, on what he described as a “very special occasion.”

Limerick have now won the title on three occasions at the venue in the last decade (2013, ’19 and yesterday) and the Treaty faithful have been vital in creating a massive atmosphere to drive the hosts on each time says the Galbally native.

“This is our home patch, this is our back yard, we’re very very proud of our record here. To win a Munster final here is always a very special occasion. These are special occasions, I think it was a brilliant occasion all told, it was a special day. Coming up the Ennis Road, you see 20,000 Clare supporters in front of you, our bus drove straight up through the middle of that crowd in a very respectful way, and I take my hat off to them, it was a very special occasion. I’m thrilled for both sets of supporters and the way the whole occasion was held. It was a really special atmosphere, we just had to go and do the business on the field, so relieved to have gotten through that, it’s a special feeling.”

11 June 2023; Limerick manager John Kiely during the Munster GAA Hurling Championship Final match between Clare and Limerick at TUS Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Kiely’s men have now booked their spot in the semi-finals of the All-Ireland, as well as earning themselves a four week break. It has been a relentless Munster championship, with every game proving to be a physical affair so far, and having the chance to “recharge” is massive for Limerick expressed Kiely.

The side are quite familiar with this scenario, having found themselves in the exact same position for the last five years, and Kiely says his side know what to expect.

“It’s a great opportunity, we’re the first team to qualify for the semi finals, that’s the fact of the matter, we managed four weeks last year, we know our routine, everyone knows what to expect in that dressing room before I go in and say it, they know exactly what’s going to happen this week, the week after, the week after that, and the subsequent week, we know our routine, we are a team that works really according to or routines. It’s an opportunity for us to recharge, for guys to get a few bits and pieces together, and to just take a break. It’s been a tough Munster championship, we have shown an amazing level of resilience and hunger and appetite that was questioned.”

For Clare it will be the All-Ireland quarter finals, and no extended break. It was always going to be tough for whoever lost this final, given to exhausting nature of the championship so far, and Brian Lohan will have to pick his side up and ready them to go again, following such a disappointing loss. The Banner will feel hard done by, as they expected to be awarded a free by referee Liam Gordon in the final knocks of the game.

Neither Kiely nor Lohan would be drawn in on the matter, although the Limerick boss did say that his side have had their fair share of bad luck, and that “you have to suck it up when it doesn’t come your way.”

Disappointment for Clare, who see their 25 year wait for the Mick Mackey cup extend another year, while Limerick win their fifth in a row. It’s a well earned rest for Kiely’s men, and one that will no doubt benefit them come Croke Park in four weeks time.

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