Kiely hails Gillane role in Limerick triumph
Munster SHL: Limerick 2-23 Cork 1-21
Pre-season competitions are a testing ground for tougher challenges later on in the year and, in that regard, Saturday night in Mallow was a success for Limerick manager John Kiely.
Aaron Gillane has marked himself out as a promising prospect in recent years as a wing-forward but Kiely opted to play him in the right corner here and his tally of 1-9 went a long way towards securing the win over a youthful Cork.
"You can't ignore that, he threatened, especially in the inside line," Kiely said. "He's normally at ten with the clubs, the U-21s, so we said we'd try him in the inside line tonight. It was interesting - he's a threat, and he likes it inside there."
Gillane's goal helped the Shannonsiders to lead all through the first half, the end of which they led by 1-13 to 0-12 after a mini-revival from Cork.
When Pat Ryan and Gillane extended the advantage to six on the resumption, but Cork fought back and Jack O'Connor netted to make it 1-18 each on 59 minutes.
Limerick responded well again though as Gillane got two points and Séamus Flanagan scored 1-1 to give them a cushion which would not be eradicated.
The significance of the game, played in front of 1,364, won't endure, but overall Kiely declared himself pleased.
"We're both just getting back on the horse after a long break, you could see the game was error-ridden, a lot of scores came about through mistakes, whether those were dropped balls or balls not controlled, fellas getting caught in possession, a bit of over-elaboration," he said.
"Overall it was a good workout for both teams, given the time of year. The storm held off a few hours to get the best of the conditions, it only really closed in the last quarter of an hour.
"Both sides went at it fairly hammer and tongs and at this stage that's all people want, a good game or two under the belt."
Likewise, Cork boss John Meyler, taking charge for the first time after replacing Kieran Kingston, could take positives. Where Limerick had 11 players who featured in the All-Ireland qualifier loss to Kilkenny last summer, the Rebels had only Daniel Kearney and sub Christopher Joyce from the semi-final defeat against Waterford. To that end, it was a valuable run-out.
"I'm pleased with the performance," Meyler said. "We had a lot of people out there who were playing their first game for Cork. We stuck in there to the end and Limerick were able to get scores that little bit easier, but we came back well and got some good scores at the end.
"That's the whole idea, to find players for the (National) League, that's coming up in four weeks' time, and the championship then. A few players put their hands up tonight and we have a couple of games next weekend as well.
"We're probably not hurling match-fit at the moment so I was happy with the performance."
The opening stages were even, with Limerick having moved 0-4 to 0-3 when Gillane fired home following Paul Browne's pass. They led by 1-10 to 0-6 at one stage but Cork, with Eoghan Finn and Robert O'Shea showing up well in attack, managed to stay in touch.
Even though Limerick forged ahead once more after the restart, Cork continued to press and O'Shea, Brian Murray, O'Connor and goalkeeper Patrick Collins had points before O'Connor's levelling goal. Limerick kicked on once more, though.
Scorers - Limerick: A Gillane 1-9 (5f), S Flanagan 1-3, T Morrissey 0-4, D Byrnes, B Nash 0-2, P Browne, P Ryan, C Lynch 0-1 each. Cork: R O'Shea 0-5 (1f), J O'Connor 1-2, E Finn 0-4, D Brosnan 0-3, C Joyce 0-2, P Collins (f), D Kearney, B Lawton, R O'Flynn, B Murray 0-1 each.
LIMERICK - N Quaid; S Finn, S Hickey, R English; D Byrnes, D Hannon, D Morrissey; P Browne P Ryan; C Lynch, D O'Donovan, T Morrissey; A Gillane, S Flanagan, B Nash. Subs: T Condon for Hickey (half-time), C Ryan for P Ryan (47), D Reidy for O'Donovan (51), B Murphy for Nash (59), O O'Reilly for T Morrissey (66).
CORK - P Collins; E Murphy, S O'Donoghue, D Griffin; D Browne, T O'Mahony, C O'Leary; B Lawton, S Murphy; D Kearney, R O'Flynn, D Brosnan; R O'Shea, E Finn, J O'Connor. Subs: B Murray for O'Flynn (28, injured), R Cahalane for Kearney (32, injured), W Kearney for E Murphy (half-time), C Joyce for O'Donoghue (38, injured), C Joyce for O'Donoghue (38-51, blood), Joyce for S Murphy (61).
REF - P Kelly (Tipperary).