John Kiely says League semi-final is “the best possible preparation” for the Munster championship

The result ended Limerick’s four-year wait for a league semi-final berth with their previous clash at the stage coming in 2019.

Unsatisfactory is how Limerick manager John Kiely described it as his side’s eleven point win over Wexford ensured their place in the National Hurling League semi-final.

With their place in the knockout stages out of the question heading into the contest, Wexford never really got to grips of the game with Limerick easing to a fourth successive victory.

Their reward is a home tie with Tipperary this Saturday in the last four with the Galbally native insisting there is plenty of work for his side to do over the coming week in preparation.

“Yeah, listen it was it was a very unsatisfactory game I suppose really from many aspects you know. It failed to ignite if you like, it was like a game that just never got going and it lacked intensity, it lacked rhythm and flow. It was and I think we coped well with that in the second half and that we got a good firm hold in the game if you like and we were solid and we just kept tipping away and wearing it down if you like and we got the result in the finish.

“I just think there was a lot of frees and stoppages in the game that’s why it failed to to get any bit of rhythm and flow on it and you know we can’t control all of that. For many aspects of the game we were happy with our our performance but we’d like to have gotten more rhythm and flow into the game and again at times, that’s on us you know there are too many forced errors, balls not retained, passes not completed. A lot of work for us to go back to this week.”

19 March 2023; Aaron Gillane of Limerick in action against Shane Reck of Wexford during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group A match between Limerick and Wexford at TUS Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Tyler Miller/Sportsfile

The result also ended Limerick’s four year wait for a league semi-final berth with their previous clash at the stage coming in 2019. Limerick did look on course for a semi-final spot the following year and did retain their league title but the last four ties were scraped due to the pandemic with the Treaty taking on Clare in a game that acted as both the league decider and Munster quarter-final.

A couple of below par league seasons followed but on both occasions Limerick primed themselves for the All-Ireland final to complete a three-in-a-row. But this year. Kiely’s troops have looked sharp in the Spring competition and despite the beginning of the championship less than a month away, he said the semi-final is “the best possible preparation.”

“If we weren’t in the competition we’d be gonna have looking for challenge matches so you know you need games you’re not going to be ready for Championship without games so this is absolutely the best possible preparation.

“We now know straight away we’ve got a fantastic game to look forward to and a really really tough challenge ahead of us so you know our axe is going to be well sharpened you know in terms of our preparation this week because we have a huge task on our hands.”

Cork or Kilkenny will await in the league final in just over a fortnight’s time and with the depth of Kiely’s squad, the possibility of two more competitive games ahead of the provincial kick off could work in their favour.

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