“We know exactly what we have to do” | John Kiely looks towards All-Ireland Final

Speaking ahead of the final, the Galbally native described the Cats as “efficient,” with their response to the challenge of Clare serves a “warning” to his side.

Following a weekend of thrilling hurling clashes, Limerick earned their spot in the All-Ireland final, and learned that they will once again be facing Kilkenny in the decider, a repeat of 2022.

The Shannonsiders managed to get the better of Galway rather comfortably for a finish, but the other semi-final was a closer affair, with the Cats ending up three point winners over Clare.

It was a game that showed Limerick a lot about their final opponents, if they didn’t know already, and John Kiely, a keen spectator in Croker, will certainly have been taking notes.

Speaking ahead of the final, the Galbally native described the Cats as “efficient,” with their response to the challenge of Clare serves a “warning” to his side.

“From a team perspective, they are incredibly hard working. They are a very accurate team. Very efficient and they have an instinct for goal. I think you could have said that about all the Kilkenny teams over the last 25 years.”

“A fantastic save, an absolutely incredible save. Their response to that challenge that came from Clare is a warning to us. We will bare that in mind and have it in the back our mind that the response is there and they have that capacity.”

9 April 2023; Diarmaid Byrnes of Limerick is tackled by Timmy Clifford of Kilkenny during the Allianz Hurling League Final match between Kilkenny and Limerick at Páirc Ui Chaoimh in Cork. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Having learned about his opponents, Kiely will be happy with what he saw from his own side, who he says answered the questions that were being asked of them.

Limerick took some time to adjust to the changes in the side on Saturday, as William O’Donoghue deputised in the absence of Declan Hannon at centre back, with Galway racing into an early six point advantage.

But the response from the Treaty was impressive and they took control prior to the half as Galbally man praised his unit.

“Fifteen minutes into the second half there were a lot of questions asked and they responded with all the answers that they needed. They possibly could have seen out the game a little bit easier in the final five minutes.

The Shannonsiders now have less than two weeks to prepare for their clash with Kilkenny on July 23, but haven been in this position so many times in the last few years, they will know how to deal with it.

It will be a fine balancing act between putting in the hard work required, and also trying to avoid picking up any injuries in the run in to the final with Cian Lynch going down in the build up twelve months ago.

Kilkenny will pose a massive threat to Limerick’s bid for four in a row, but Kiely says he is “looking forward to it.”

“It’s great to have that clarity and we know exactly what we have to do in the next few weeks. It’s going to be a very tough challenge for us but we are looking forward to it.”

With the final fast approaching, will Limerick make history by winning four Liam MacCarthy titles in a row? Or will the Cats be back on top for the first time since 2015?

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