John Kiely says there is “clearly aspects we need to improve on” ahead of Clare clash this Saturday

Kiely was happy with his sides efficiency when needed most as they prepare for Clare in round two of the championship this Saturday evening.

Heading into the game as 1/10 favourites, Limerick had to work hard to get the two points from their Munster Senior Hurling Championship against Waterford on Sunday afternoon.

After Waterford had turned an eight-point deficit into a single point margin midway into the second half, Limerick had a penalty saved before Gearoid Hegarty was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Limerick’s reply to the setback was admirable as they clipped over three on the bounce but Waterford didn’t relent as the Shannonsiders were forced to dig deep in keeping the Deise at bay.

And they did that to secure the 1-18 to 0-19 result as John Kiely described his feeling in the wake of the epic contest.

“Mixed emotions really I was relieved to get the result and get the two points on the board, that’s what today was all about. The first day in the championship is a really pressurized day because if you lose the first game it puts you on the back foot and it can be very difficult going into your second game a week later so delighted with the result.

“Performance wise mixed emotions. There were times when we were in control but there was other times when we weren’t in control and I think energy wise I would have liked to have seen a bit more from the guys at times but they’ll be very honest in their own assessment of their own performances collectively and individually and I’d expect that they’ll have plenty to go and focus on for the week ahead.

“I think the ball was only in play for something like 14 minutes in the first half you know which is an extraordinarily small amount of time, that’s just quite simply down to the amount of stoppages in the game. We can’t control it and I suppose it’s the nature of the way the teacher teams engage with each other.”

9 April 2023; Sean Finn of Limerick during the Allianz Hurling League Final match between Kilkenny and Limerick at Páirc Ui Chaoimh in Cork. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Twice Aaron Gillane was thwarted by Billy Nolan in the Waterford net in the second half while Nickie Quaid had to remain vigilant to keep Waterford from finding the net.

With the man advantage, Waterford couldn’t capitalise with a number of inaccuracies allowing Limerick a chance to stay in front as they maintained a huge efficiency in front of the posts aside from the goal chances.

Kiely was happy with his sides efficiency when needed most as they prepare for Clare in round two of the championship this Saturday evening.

“I think both sides will probably rue many of the chances that they left behind them, Waterford in the last quarter left a good number behind them as well, some of them not pressurized and they’ll be disappointed with those but from our perspective I think we were very efficient with the chances we did get in the second half.

“The penalty was disappointing but we’ll work on that and we’ll hopefully be a better team next Saturday night.

“I think that was the response we needed and hats off to the lads for that. The way they kept calm, kept composed, kept our shape and I think we really battled very very hard inside our own 45′ in that last 15 minutes. I think that was the key piece, the high balls were coming in, there was a huge amount of ball coming into the full back line but we got one man up, we contested hard on the ground and we when we won it, we broke out, there were support runners there and we were smart in using the ball getting it out up the field and won a few vital frees.

“I’m very happy with that aspect of the game there are other aspects which we will clearly have to improve on, our own puck out being one of them for next Saturday night.”

23 April 2023; Kyle Hayes of Limerick is tackled by Neil Montgomery of Waterford during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 1 match between Waterford and Limerick at FBD Semple Stadium in Thurles, Tipperary. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Kiely also didn’t mince his words when discussing the build up the game and the narrative around his side, highlighting their respect for all their opponents.

“Let’s be honest about it or some amount of bullshit spoke about our team and the season ahead this week and the week before. It’s a softening up exercise mentally exposed from those outside of our camp of course. We’re around a long time. we know that it’s nonsense at the end of the day. Every day you go out, you’re there to be beaten, we saw that again today, a couple of chances go left right on you and you’re in that situation where you lose your game and every day we go out, we know we can possibly be beaten and that’s just the way it is.

“I think that was a lot of nonsense, I think people might hopefully have a little bit more reality about their perspective and their analysis of where things are going and maybe just focus on the fact that we’re playing Clare next weekend and we played them for nearly 100 minutes here last year and there was a puck of a ball between us so. These games are all really really tough battles individually and you know from our perspective our focus was solely on just getting the result today and being the best team that we could be and next Saturday even to be the best team we can be against Clare.”

“It’s not possible to insulate them from it at all. They live in the real world they have to go to work every day, they have to meet their relations, they have phones obviously with information on it so you can’t block them off or hunt them away somewhere, you’ve just got to acknowledge the fact that this is nonsense, this is not true, this is lies.

“This is a softening up exercise and you can accept that and allow it to interfere with how you prepare and how you play or you can get on with your job and accept that every single time you’re on the ball you’re going to be hit like a train and be ready for that.”

“I don’t think it interfered at all to be quite honest because we dealt with us you know I knew this was going to be a really tight game. Am I the only one that’s surprised about the result here today what’s the problem like? Waterford are a fantastic side you know they’ve been in a couple of All-Ireland finals in the last number of years, they’ve been in Munster finals. They’re a serious serious team and they brought an absolutely massive challenge to us today and we’re just relieved to come out the right side.

“We have huge respect for the opposition. I think people need to have more respect for the local teams that wrote them and what they can bring them but you know what’s at stake every do you go to there’s a game at stake and you’ve got to lay it on out there and if you if you can do enough you might get out the right side and if you don’t you won’t it doesn’t matter who you are.”

Next up for Kiely and co is Clare on Saturday in the TUS Gaelic Grounds where a second win would put one foot in the knockout stages ahead of the provincial break.

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