“When you’re on the yellow, you’re always at risk” | John Kiely on Hegarty’s red card as Limerick sweat on the fitness of Hannon

While the result went their way on the day, Limerick did lose captain Declan Hannon early in the first half as he made way after 14 minutes.

Limerick were made to work for their win on Sunday but the five in a row chasing Munster champions kicked off their provincial campaign with a two-point win over Waterford in Thurles.

The defending champions looked to be cruising early on as they moved into a 1-8 to 0-3 lead in the opening half. But Waterford crept back into the contest and were within a point when Limerick were reduced to 14-men.

However, the response came from the Shannonsiders who outscored the Deise in the final half hour to claim the crucial two points.

Limerick were far from their best but with just a two week break following their league final success John Kiely’s men picked up the win nonetheless and while their scoring average was way down, he was unperturbed given the challenge presented by Waterford.

“The scoreline never concerns me once we’re on the right side so whether it’s 0-12 to 0-11 or whether it’s 0-30 to 0-29, I don’t care once we get out the right side of it. All these games are going to take on a life of their own and we’ll have different shapes to them. Today’s game was probably always going to be a score line very similar to what you had today.”

23 April 2023; Declan Hannon of Limerick leaves the pitch in a first half substitution 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

While the result went their way on the day, Limerick did lose captain Declan Hannon early in the first half as the four-time All-Ireland winning captain made way for Mike Casey after 14 minutes.

Hannon didn’t appear to limp off but clearly there is an issue with the Adare man now in a race against time to be fit for Clare in the TUS Gaelic Grounds this Saturday evening.

In the wake of the game, Kiely was unsure of Hannon’s availability for the second round.

“I don’t know that I haven’t had any chance to meet Declan or meet medical team or have him assessed.”

One player that will be free to play this weekend is Gearoid Hegarty despite seeing red. The St Patricks man picked up a pair of yellow cards in the win but will not be suspended due to the nature of the sending off.

Kiely didn’t see the incident in real time but was disappointed in the reaction with a member of the Waterford backroom team appearing to hit Hegarty by the sideline.

“I didn’t genuinely see the incident with Conor Gleeson, it was literally right down the sideline. There were a lot of bodies there so I haven’t seen that but when you’re on the yellow you’re always at risk and you have to be careful. I suppose the piece after that was probably very disappointing but I’m sure it’ll be dealt with.”

It will be a quick turnaround for Limerick with Clare to come this Saturday licking their wounds after conceding five goals in defeat to Tipperary on Sunday.

Whether Hannon will start or not remains to be seen but the championship is certainly back up and running with Limerick still the team to beat.

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