Ryan Byrne/INPHO John Kiely celebrates last night's victory with John Flavin.
# revenge mission
This Limerick hurling stalwart's chance for revenge has come after nearly 20 years
Current U21 boss John Kiely was a member of the Limerick senior panel beaten by Wexford in 1996.

JOHN KIELY DOESN’T have fond memories of the last time he came across Wexford in an All-Ireland final.

The county’s U21 manager was a member of the Limerick panel when they were defeated by the Slaneysiders in the 1996 All-Ireland senior decider.

But almost two decades on from that heartbreaking setback, Kiely has the chance to exact sweet revenge at Semple Stadium next month.

Victories for both counties at there last evening has set up a Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U21 hurling final at the same venue on 12 September.

Wexford, eleven-time losers in finals, are gunning for a first title in this grade since 1965 as Limerick seek to end a 13-year famine.

John Kiely and John Allen James Crombie / INPHO John Kiely was a member of John Allen's senior backroom team in Limerick. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

And there’s added motivation for Kiely as the Munster champions prepare for the Model County.

“I don’t have great memories, I was sub the same day (1996),” says Kiely.

“I still haven’t brought myself to watch it on video.

“This is a great Wexford (U21) team, the way they demolished Kilkenny in a Leinster final. They haven’t really had anyone taken to them to date. They were at their ease today (against Antrim).

“We are going to be rightly up against it. It is going to be a huge challenge. We will have a crack.”

John Kiely Ryan Byrne / INPHO Limerick U21 hurling boss John Kiely. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

A win for Limerick would secure a badly-needed All-Ireland crown and ensure that they end the season on a high and can crack on into 2016 with renewed optimism.

“We need an All-Ireland senior title, not U21,” Kiely insisted.

“It is all about developing the players. They have to look forward to the future and contribute to whatever they can to Limerick winning a Liam MacCarthy.

“That is the bottom line. If it takes four years, five year or six years; whatever it takes, this crop of players are going to be involved in it.

John Kiely Limerick Hurling 1994 © Tom HonanINPHO John Kiely's Limerick senior squad picture from 1994. © Tom HonanINPHO

“They have got the ability, the have got the determination and commitment.

“Okay, we are in an U21 final, but, ultimately, for Limerick people it is about winning a senior title down the road.

“We need to just keep working hard, regardless of the outcome the next day. We need to work hard for the next number of years to see if we can do that.”

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