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'We knew it was after taking a touch' - Kiely rues late officiating error

The Treaty boss watched his team fall agonisingly short in the All-Ireland semi-final.

John Kiely after the game.
John Kiely after the game.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

LIMERICK BOSS JOHN Kiely refused to use the lengthy lay-off after the provincial final as an excuse for their one-point All-Ireland semi-final loss to Kilkenny.

Munster champions have now lost 10 of the last 13 last four clashes, with Tipperary in 2016 the only side in that time to have gone on and lifted the All-Ireland.

The Shannonsiders endured a dreadful opening to the game, handing the Cats a nine-point head start before they started to play any hurling of their own. 

“Not at all no,” Kiely said when he was asked if the four-week gap between competitive games was a reason they were slow out of the traps.

“No impact and no regrets on anything we did. We gave the lads a week off, we trained hard. We were ready for tonight, we were absolutely ready.

“Kilkenny brought a ferocious intensity to the first 15 minutes but we responded to that in kind in the second quarter. We dominated it.

“We felt very comfortable at half-time that we had the resolve to push on in the second half but we probably struggled a little bit with our efficiency in front of goals. They had eight wides, we had 15. You only need one of those, but that’s just sport.”

Aaron Gillane dejected after the game Aaron Gillane sits on the turf shortly after the full-time whistle. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Kiely accepted that Limerick left themselves with too much work to do after the first quarter.

“When you are 10 points to two down after about 15-17 minutes you have given yourself a  mountain to climb,” he stated.

“It took us a while to settle into the game. Kilkenny brought a ferocious intensity to the breaking ball and got a platform that they were very efficient with. They have themselves that bit of head start, the challenge from then on was to close that gap.

“We got it down to two and one and two and one, then it went out again to five and that really gave us a massive challenge again, closed it to two again and then to get it back to one and we were probably looking for that one little opening to come where we could get level.

“Had we broken that chink and got that level we could possibly have pushed on again but it wasn’t to be.

“I don’t think they had a greater level of intensity than us throughout the whole game. I disagree with that. There were phases of the game where we had the ascendancy with regard to the intensity and phases where they had the ascendancy.

“I just think that they were more, they got a greater outcome from their periods where they dominated than where we dominated. We just didn’t enough of the dominance, when we had it, on the scoreboard.”

Darragh O'Donovan and Brian Geary appeal for a late 65 after taking a sideline cut Darragh O'Donovan and Brian Geary appeal for a late 65 after late a sideline cut. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

There was some controversy late in the day as Darragh O’Donovan’s sideline cut with Limerick’s final attack appeared to have been deflected wide by Cillian Buckley, who was also standing very close to the ball. 

“We knew straight away. We could see by the flight of the ball, it was taking a certain flight, it changed, it flew off to a different angle.

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“We knew it was after taking a touch, what can we do. The crowd on that side of the field. You could see from their reaction, it was obvious that something had happened and we could see ourselves form the flight of the ball what had happened.”

Reflecting on their year as defending champions, he said: “We have had a very good season. The lads have worked extremely hard. We’ve enjoyed it.

“Every bit of the way, we’ve enjoyed it. The boys are very disappointed right now because there was a huge prize at stake tonight but it is not to be.

“That defeat won’t define that group. If anything, it will strengthen the resolve of this group to come back again. They are a young bunch. They are very ambitious.

“They are very united. I’ve no doubt they’ll come back again and they’ll challenge again in the future.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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