Wednesday 21 August 2019

Limerick boss Kiely wary of Cats' returning stars ahead of semi

Kiely guided his side to their first All-Ireland senior hurling title in 45 years last September. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Kiely guided his side to their first All-Ireland senior hurling title in 45 years last September. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

Limerick manager John Kiely has warned his troops to put back-to-back All-Ireland triumphs out of their minds as they prepare to face Kilkenny in Saturday's semi-final..

Kiely guided his side to their first All-Ireland senior hurling title in 45 years last September, with victory over Kilkenny in the quarter-final a key result along the way.

"We're very much focused on the next hurdle, we're like a horse in a steeplechase," said Kiely, who is in his third year as manager.

"You can reflect on a great jump you just had and then the next fence you go out on your knees, out over the ears and you're gone."

Victory over Tipperary in the Munster final at the end of June ended a six-year wait for provincial honours, but Saturday's game is another massive test for Limerick. And after last season's knock-out meeting with the record 36-time All-Ireland champions, Kiely knows his side need to be on song.

"We had control of the game for good spells and made good use of it. But when they got their purple patches they took great use of it as well.

"They have real strength in their forwards with a load of experience as well with TJ Reid, Richie Hogan, Colin Fennelly, Walter Walsh and a lot of these lads are coming back at the right time. It is going to be a real challenge for us on Saturday."

Alongside Kiely on the Croke Park sideline on Saturday evening will be Kilkenny manager Brian Cody, who has won everything in the game since taking over in 1998.

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Kiely's side currently hold the Liam MacCarthy Cup, the National League title as well as the recently annexed Munster Championship although he still regards the Cats manager as the master.

"I marvel at what he has done, marvel. I don't know where he gets the energy from," said Kiely.

"But he loves Kilkenny hurling, he loves hurling. And he always manages to get the best out of his teams every day he goes out. He is an example to all of us really."

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