Limerick forward Peter Casey is gearing up for second All-Ireland U21 final in 3 years as his side take on Kilkenny on Saturday evening. The Treaty County are favourites for the game but Casey knows from past experiences that this Kilkenny side will be ready for the final.
“They didn’t get to an All-Ireland final playing badly, they are a very good side. Three years ago, we played them the minor, and they beat us. I think it’s going to be a great game.”
The Na Piarsaigh man is now an established part of the 21’s set up and comes in to the side with the added benefit of senior hurling experience, he agrees that there is more pressure on the longer serving players in the panel but it won’t affect their performance.
“There probably is a bit of pressure but I think you try to keep that stuff down. At the end of the day you’re up against your marker. We don’t put extra pressure on ourselves.”
Here's Peter Casey's stats from his game against @Galway_GAA which landed @LimerickCLG in the U21 All-Ireland final! #HurlingToTheCore pic.twitter.com/QNajYp5RoE
— BGEGAA (@BGEGAA) August 28, 2017
While nobody is in any doubt that Casey’s primary role is to keep the score board ticking over, he also brings high intensity and work rate to his role – a fact that is borne out by his stats from he semi final against Galway where he amassed more blocks and hooks that scores. It’s not just typical of Casey but of this entire side and is critical to going 15 on 15 as Limerick have in their Championship outings here to fore. Attack when you have the ball and everyone turns into a defender when possession is turned over.
Peter Casey of @LimerickCLG won play of the day for this great goal in the Bord Gáis Energy @MunsterGAA U21 semifinal #HurlingToTheCore pic.twitter.com/vUfUgC7JaI
— BGEGAA (@BGEGAA) July 14, 2017
Many of Pat Donnelly’s panel will have also played under him in the 2014 minor final, a game that Limerick lost to Kilkenny. Casey was one of the players involved, he remembers the feeling in the dressing room after the game but insists that it won’t have any impact on Saturday’s performance.
“As players, we all know we lost that minor final. The one thing that will stand out more to us was the dressing room afterwards, how upset everyone was.
“Once we cross the white lines we’re going to be given a game plan by the lads (management team) and that’s what we’re going to be trying to do, to execute that.”
Tasting defeat in that minor final didn’t deter Casey’s hunger for success. In fact in merely served as a spur to drive him on. Proof of that drive is backed up by the medals he has amassed since that 2014 defeat. Casey has gone on to win a Limerick Senior Hurling Championship, Munster Club Championship. All-Ireland Club Championship as well as the 2015 U21 All Ireland title and this year his club are safely thought to the county semi finals and are one of the main contenders to retake their crown.
While that loss to Kilkenny can be used to frame the game as a chance for redemption, the panel will not be looking backwards at an event that they cannot affect or change, rather they mantra is that this team will be focusing on the strengths of their own game, a tactic that has served Limerick well to date in the competition.
The dual Na Piarsaigh star is expecting a physical challenge from the Cats but is fully confident in the plan that the management team will have in place on the day.
“It’s an All-Ireland final I don’t expect anything less, we’ve played Kilkenny over the years and they’re very attacking and good at swarming, we’ll all be expecting that but the management will have a plan in place.
“The management have been absolutely excellent, they take it one game at a time and haven’t put any pressure on us. Thankfully we got over the line and we’re in an All-Ireland final.”
Limerick take on Kilkenny at Semple Stadium Thurles on Saturday (9th September) with a 3pm throw in. Please get along to show your support for a team that has brought such joy to Limerick GAA fans over the Summer.
You can watch Peter Casey’s full pre-All Ireland interview below.
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