Kiely tells his troops they could have been 'more ruthless'
The spring has proven to John Kiely, emphatically, that Limerick's appetite for more silverware is undiminished.
If a concern existed within him that winning a first All-Ireland in 45 years might swallow up all remaining energy and ambition, those worries are now eased.
Someone asked him about the latest gap that closed yesterday, with their first league final win in Croke Park in 22 years. That was the old way of thinking; in answering the question he spoke of players with a different mindset.
"For these guys, they don't look at it like that. They just see it as a competition they haven't got a medal from and they want to go and get a medal. How many of them have Munster medals? Very few of them have Munster medals. For me, that should be at the top of their agenda right now. They should be going hunting one down every time they get a chance."
And the hunger he spoke of sounded genuine and uncontrived; it was plain to see as Waterford fell to a defeat not fairly reflected on the scoreboard.
"Look at Rory McIlroy," added Kiely, warming to the theme. "How long has he been waiting for that Major that he can't get? You gotta hunt it down every time you get a chance.
"For these guys, the Munster championship is the next opportunity. Who knows the day you lose that chance - you might get an injury, work commitments - whatever might send you on a different direction in life and you mightn't get that medal.
"You have to seize the moment when the moment comes. That's very important for these lads."
Limerick show no intention of slowing their current momentum.
Páraic Fanning had his first chastening defeat since taking over as Waterford manager and freely admitted that they were at a standard he had not yet encountered.
"Yeah, very disappointed I suppose - nobody wants to lose big matches like that," he said.
"We were quite confident coming up. I don't think we did ourselves justice and that is credit to Limerick, we saw how good they were.
"The bar is high. We got back in the game in the first half, I thought we could have pushed on from there. And we allowed them gain a foothold again."
After a slow start, Waterford had managed to reduce an early six-point deficit to just one when Aaron Gillane, chosen as man of the match, scored a sublime goal approaching the half hour, a switch of his wrists diverting a long delivery from Tom Morrissey to the Waterford net. Fanning agreed that Waterford were never quite the same after that.
He remains upbeat, though, and is already contemplating a Munster Championship opener against Clare on May 12 at Walsh Park, with some experienced players still to return from injury.
"You will see the best of us, I don't think you saw it today. You saw it earlier in the League and we see it in training as well, what our lads are capable of, and trust me, we will be back again as well.
"We are looking forward, we are disappointed with today, but now we look forward to the Munster Championship. That's another big competition coming up, the league is over."
Kiely is under no illusions about the "cut-throat" summer ahead in spite of Limerick's form, but he knows he has a special group.
"Listen, these players are lifers when it comes to hurling and they're playing it since they're eight years of age.
"They have developed their skills with their clubs, colleges, schools, university teams.
"So it's not really what we've been doing with them as such, there have been a hell of a lot of foundations put in. That's important to acknowledge.
"Overall, I think it is really satisfying for the group because there are always going to be questions as to how the group as a whole and lads, individually, would cope with what happened last year. They've handled it really well."
He added, ominously: "We could have been a bit more ruthless today."
They now take a rest before preparing for Cork on May 19.