“Looking for a better performance the next day” | John Kiely speaks after 14 man Limerick earn Galway draw

The Shannonsiders had to adapt having gone down to 14 men, and opted to move Adam English to midfield, a switch Kiely says “worked to a certain extent”.

Limerick booked a semi-final meeting with Kilkenny in Division 1 of the NHL, having picked up a draw away to Galway on Saturday.

John Kiely’s men played majority of the tie with 14 men, following the early dismissal of Kilmallock’s Shane O’Brien.

Speaking after the game, Kiely said that he was “happy to have picked up a point,” and stressed how hard a task it is to deal with a side like Galway a player down.

“Happy to have picked up a point, would have liked obviously to have gotten two, but when you have to play with 14 men for 55 minutes it’s a challenge. Against a quality side like Galway, they move the ball very well, they have very good ball strikers, they’re very good at putting the ball through the hand and through the lines. That can be a very, very difficult task when the opposition have an extra man so I’m very happy with the energy that the boys brought to closing the extra spaces down and limiting Galway to the number of chances that they did. Overall, happy to get a draw, would be looking for a better performance the next day.”

16 March 2024; Shane O’Brien of Limerick, red helmet, is shown a red card by referee Thomas Walsh during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group B match between Galway and Limerick at Pearse Stadium in Galway. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

The Shannonsiders had to adapt having gone down to 14 men, and opted to move Adam English to midfield, a switch Kiely says “worked to a certain extent”.

English was arguably Limerick’s standout performer, with the Doon man posting five points from player, more than anyone else on the pitch managed.

Importantly, Kiely noted that this experience will benefit his side, and that they will be able to look back to the game as a reference should they find themselves depleted in future.

“It’s always going to challenge you (red card), how are you doing to set up? Who are you going to move around? We brought Adam English out to the middle of the field, it worked to a certain extent, but ultimately it does throw you off. It’s a very good reference point for us to have, you never know when you’re going to end up in these situations again, we can always go back to it again.”

16 March 2024; Aaron Gillane of Limerick and Seán Linnane of Galway during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group B match between Galway and Limerick at Pearse Stadium in Galway. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Limerick will be disappointed not to come away from Galway with the win, but Kiely says that he is “delighted to have a game next weekend.”

The Galbally native cited a low scoring tally and a lack of chances created as areas to work on, and said his side will “work hard and hopefully be a better team next weekend.”

“We really do work on a week to week basis. Okay, we got a draw today, but we wouldn’t be happy with the overall number of scores we got or the number of scoring chances we created. Hence, next weekend we have to be better. Delighted to have a game next weekend, it’s another building block for us, we’ll work hard and hopefully be a better team next weekend.”

It was a tough contest on Saturday, with several hard hits going in, and Limerick lost the trio of Colin Coughlan, Mike Casey and Fergal O’Connor to injury.

Coughlan, Kiely revealed after the game, suffered a groin injury and will need to be assessed this coming week.

Casey and O’Connor were both HIAs, and “appear to be okay”. The Limerick boss says they will follow the correct precautions.

“Colin, it appears to be a groin injury, the extent of it we’ll have to fid out during the week. Mike Casey was a HIA, hopefully nothing too serious, it appears to be okay thankfully. Fergal O’Connor was a HIA as well. Both of them picked up a knock, these things happen, back on the training field hopefully inside five or ten days.”

Limerick will now lock horns with Kilkenny once more, the pair set to meet in the league semi-final on March 23rd at SuperValu Páirc Uí Chaoimh. The game, live on TG4, throws in at 4.30pm.

The Shannonsiders defeated Kilkenny in the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Final in Páirc Uí Chaoimh last April, getting the better of the Cats on a scoreline of 2-20 to 0-15.


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