It was a tense affair in TEG Cusack Park, with Westmeath arguably outworking the Shannonsiders, to the dismay of the Limerick boss.
John Kiely voiced his concerns with his Limerick side following a sluggish six point victory over Westmeath in Mullingar on Sunday.
It was far from the starting XV we have come to expect under Kiely, with opportunities handed to Emmet McEvoy and Darragh Langan, who both started, while Barry Nash, Seamus Flanagan and Graeme Mulcahy were included from the start for the first time in 2024.
Nonetheless, it was a tense affair in TEG Cusack Park, with Westmeath arguably outworking the Shannonsiders, to the dismay of the Limerick boss.
“Absolutely hard fought, very much so, it was in question up until the last five minutes really. Westmeath played really well today, they worked extremely hard and put us under a lot of pressure when we were on the ball and they were full value for the performance, maybe even could have had more”.
Despite looking off the pace, the Galbally native stressed that his side are on an “upward curve,” even with the poor performance, stating his side just didn’t work hard enough.
While they may be disappointed, it is two wins from two for Limerick having blown Antrim out of the water last weekend, and they now switch their attention to Dublin.
“The curve is definitely upwards we can see that in training, even though today’s performance didn’t reflect it, it’s a timely reminder to the lads of how hard we need to work. I just don’t think we worked hard enough today, we didn’t mind the ball well enough and our accuracy and execution of shooting just wasn’t good enough”.
A late Donnacha Ó Dálaigh proved vital for Limerick, pushing them five points clear for the first time in the tie, in a game which Kiely says “never got into a rhythm”.
His side racked up double digits in their wide count, and it was a far cry from the ruthless accuracy we have become accustomed to from the Shannonsiders.
On the contrary, Westmeath were restless, and they made life tough for their counterparts all game long. Their dogged nature made it hard for Limerick to get into a flow, and they were unlucky to come away empty handed.
“We had a good week this week we worked really hard, the rhythm of the game just never evolved, I don’t think we saw too many passages of play where the ball was in play for a prolonged period of time, it was all set pieces, all restarts and the game never got into a rhythm. Having said that, we will be disappointed we weren’t able to control the game for longer periods. I was pleased with our first 20 minutes, moving the ball well we were able to control the play. Overall, I have to say we will be disappointed with our performance”.
Kiely’s disappointment shows the high standard he holds his charges to, but he stressed he is not worried, as he sees the performances in training.
Despite looking far from perfect, it is two wins on the bounce for Limerick, who continue to get important minutes into the legs of returning players ahead of what is sure to be a massive 2024 for the county.
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