A FIRST MUNSTER senior hurling crown claimed as a manager but the emphatic nature of this victory was not something that John Kiely had envisaged.
His Limerick side coasted to a 12-point success over Tipperary yesterday to triumph in front of their home fans at the Gaelic Grounds.
“It’s hard to know what to expect from Munster finals, they can become a slugfest, and other times they can be like that one,” remarked Kiely.
“I thought the game was full of quality right up to a few minutes before half-time, I felt we were wrestling control of the game at that stage but up to then I thought it was really high quality stuff from both sides.
“We began to find our rhythm, our intensity levels went up and we were able to maintain them.”
Playing on home soil, Limerick were determined to make that chance count.
“When you’re playing at home, you don’t get too many opportunities. These are things you’d carry with you for a long time afterwards.
“If you were to look back on a fixture like this – a Munster final at home, with the team we have and what we know we can produce in terms of the level of performance, if we didn’t produce that today it would have been very disappointing.
“For that reason it probably did put us under a lot of pressure, but the boys react well under pressure. We worked really hard and just didn’t give the Tipperary half-backs and midfielders the time to pass in quality ball to their forwards. I think that’s reflected in the scoreboard.
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“When you can apply yourself, that high level of work rate, you are going to compromise their ability to get the ball in. It’s going to have an impact on the game, and you’ll probably create some chances yourself. We got a good few scores on turnovers as well.
“Listen that is what they expect of themselves. It is not what we expect of them. And if they don’t produce that level of performance they are the ones who are going to be disappointed tomorrow morning when they get their sight of the report to see what exactly did happen.”
Limerick chalked up 2-26 but still racked up 16 wides and saw Brian Hogan deny them goals with a string of superb saves.
“We did leave scores after us, there’s no two ways about that,” admitted Kiely.
“Believe me, we left too many – it’s the only possible stain on the performance for me, that we didn’t put it to bed earlier.”
Limerick now venture into the last four stage, mindful of the recent record of Munster champions converting provincial honours into All-Ireland wins.
“Of course it has to be asked. We have to ask ourselves if this is a challenge we can take on now. Winning a Munster championship where there are five games to be played is a challenge. Winning the All-Ireland last year was a huge challenge.
“So this is another challenge that is after being laid at our door and it is a brilliant challenge. And I have no doubt we will sit down during the week and we will lay out a plan for the following three and a half weeks and we will go hard at it.”
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