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Kiely: 'Sport will lift the spirits of the nation when it does come back and this is all over'

The Limerick boss has no concerns over his players maintaining their fitness levels during this uncertain period.

Limerick manager John Kiely.
Limerick manager John Kiely.
Image: Keith Wiseman/INPHO

LIMERICK HURLING MANAGER John Kiely has no concerns over his players maintaining their fitness over the coming weeks, while he believes the eventual return of sport will help in “lifting the spirits of the nation” in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Limerick were due to play in the Allianz Hurling League semi-final this weekend but like the rest of the country they face into an uncertain period.

The GAA have place a ban on all activities up until 29 March, but in reality the suspension may last far longer.

“Since Thursday we’ve realised that a far bigger challenge is coming over the horizon for us all to deal with,” he told RTÉ Radio 1.

“As an inter-county manager, looking at this problem, it’s obviously another challenge for us. We’ve had the players in with us for a number of months, training and playing matches and we were coming to the closing stages of the National Hurling League.

“As for our players we’ve given them their individual programmes that they can work on themselves at home. They’re well-able to manage that. They’re as qualified as an awful lot of the people who are instructing them.

“They’ve been through the mill a number of years now. They know what’s expected of them, they need to look after themselves and ensure that when this is all over that they can resume full training again.

“It’s an opportunity for them to rehab injuries and freshen up, and come back with a great appetite. Sport will be a huge player in lifting the spirits of the nation when it does come back on the agenda when this is all over.”

Limerick GAA made the decision yesterday to postpone all club championship games fixed for the ‘club-only’ month in April.

Kiely, who is principal of the Abbey School in Tipperary town, urged the public to heed the HSE’s advice during this difficult time. 

“There’s a huge onus on us all to knuckle down and do everything that we can within our own environment.

“We need to look after our neighbours, our families and friends – and get back to the basics really and take on that responsibility that’s being asked of us.

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“At the moment we’re worried about the health and welfare of our family, our friends, our neighbours. I take great confidence from the fact that we have Dr Tony Holohan and his team, and the government, I think they’re really on top of things.

“They’re being well-supported by the Gardaí, the Army, our health service workers. We’ve over 120,000 people working in the health sector. I think out of respect for the effort that they’re putting in right now, I think everybody else needs to follow suit and do what they can.

“They’re at the coalface, they’re doing what they can putting in huge, huge shifts at great expense to them and their families. And at huge risk, as well. So in solidarity we need to do what’s right and do whatever’s expected of us, and that’s the bottom line.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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