Sunday 18 February 2018

Kiely bemoans inconsistency as Limerick fall short

Limerick manager John Kiely. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Limerick manager John Kiely. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Limerick manager John Kiely admitted he was at a loss to explain his side's inconsistency as they lost the league semi-final to Galway by 10 points.

After a promising quarter-final win over Cork two weeks ago, this felt like a step back as the home side failed to generate any real momentum. Accepting they had given everything, Kiely felt too much poor execution caught up with them.

"Things just didn't happen for them out on the field there today. I can't put my finger on exactly why that was," he said.

"We put a lot of effort in over the last few weeks building up to this game. That is the challenge for Limerick hurling, to put successive performances together.

"That would have been a bit easier with a more mature bunch of players, but it is a challenge at the moment for this particular group. We are going to work on it in the next couple of weeks coming into the championship."

He cited the loss of Declan Hannon so early through injury as a factor and felt Galway's superior physical power was inevitably too much for them.

"They are a really tough side to play against. They will chase you down, they will hold you up, they will turn you around, they will dispossess you. They will turn you over so many times and I guarantee our turnover rate is high," he said.

"They have so many players on the field who are able to cover the ground and are physically strong. They are further down the road than we are.

"This is a team beaten by Tipperary by a point in the All-Ireland semi-final last year and they probably feel aggrieved that they didn't win an All-Ireland."

Kiely was disappointed by such a poor return from Limerick's attack, but still sees more than a chink of light.

"We have a load of positives we can take from this. We are doing really well. We are disappointed with that performance, but it's one we won't be long putting to bed and leaving behind us.

"When you are playing against a side of that quality, playing that well, I don't think there is any shame in coming off having been beaten by 10 points, but at the same time we hit 17 wides. There were plenty of opportunities there for us to narrow that gap. With 15 minutes to go there was only three points in it."

The loss of Declan Hannon and Seamus Hickey through injury was also felt.

"They are two of the senior players in a very important line on the field. We still created so many opportunities given the fact that they had to be hauled off. "

Galway manager Micheál Donoghue feels his side are coming into "a bit of form".

"We are delighted to be getting another competitive game that'll bring us closer to the championship. We've been keeping the heads down and taking it one game at a time, but now that we are in it, we are really glad to be in it.

"There are only two national titles you can go for. In that regard, it is nice to be there. Our aim at the outset of the league was to go as far as we can and to get us as close as possible to the championship."

Donoghue felt a Galway full-forward line responsible for 1-10 of their 1-21 tally benefited from quality service throughout.

"When the ball went in, they were looking sharp. In the first-half we had a lot of ball in the middle third and we were giving them opportunities. They got a good return today," he said.

Irish Independent

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