'Hype is for the supporters. Right? We have our own objectives, our own goals.'

Limerick’s manager wants to keep his team focused before the final showdown.

John Kiely talks to his players after the game.
John Kiely talks to his players after the game.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

A WIN HAD been achieved in an exhilarating All-Ireland hurling semi-final but before reflecting back, John Kiely wanted to first look ahead at the final whistle in Croke Park yesterday.

Limerick’s 45-year wait for the Liam MacCarthy Cup hovered over this success and Kiely was mindful of the six days they have fallen short in deciders since then.

The Limerick boss wants a clear focus over the next three weeks before their All-Ireland final showdown.

“There is no hype whatsoever. Hype is for the supporters. Right? We have our own objectives, our own goals, our own work. We have our own routines, our own patterns and, like, we don’t have open training sessions, for example.

“The lads go to work every day, that’s it. We just go on about our daily lives. To be fair, the supporters have been absolutely fantastic and given us great space and I’m sure they will over the next few weeks as well. And this is not to become an issue. It’s not an issue and that’s it.”

John Kiely celebrates after the game John Kiely celebrates after Limerick's victory over Cork. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

And Kiely is keen to protect his players in the build-up to a landmark game in their careers.

“If I could just ask for one piece of co-operation over the next three weeks,” he stated in the post-match press conference.

“Do not contact any of our group or I will shut the whole thing down. Okay? That’s it. Please give us the space to manage it. We will work with you. You know that. We have always worked with you.

“I have been very fair to the media over the last two years. I am sincerely just asking for that piece of respect, to contact the group leaders – i.e. the county board, the PRO or myself and do not contact the players directly.

“Let’s be honest about it now, we had our press conference and not every team facilitated that. So just a little bit of quid pro quo is what is needed. A little bit of cooperation. A bit of fairness and that’s all.”

Limerick’s prospects looked in jeopardy when Cork gained a grip on the game as the second half progressed.

“We needed to make a couple of adjustments and we needed to respond very quickly because the clock was running down,” stated Kiely.

“Listen, our bench were phenomenal today. When the lads had emptied the tank and cramping and getting tired, we had to make changes that were difficult.

“We had players who played very well but we had to take a gamble that they had probably given their all. We made a few changes and managed to get a foothold on the Cork puckout at that stage and listen, the boys that went in won hard ball, they made hard runs and they took on the shots when they presented themselves.

“We got the leading score from the free and conceded a free then on the far side and fair play to Patrick Horgan: he is a superb free taker and he got that off. It was incredible. An incredible game.

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“We felt very happy going into extra-time because we had been through it so many times this year in games. Tipperary, Clare, in the league, the Munster league final we had been through it so it stood to us and we had the confidence from that when we had responded well.”

The Limerick boss hailed their supporters role in claiming victory in an extra-time epic.

“They lifted the roof. It was phenomenal and it lifted our team so much at vital times of the game. It was immense. I can’t thank them enough and I know they will do that in the future.

“I am so appreciative of them and so are the players. We have huge regard for them. We just need to be able to go do our work this next three weeks, that’s all.”

– First published 06.00, 30 July

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Fintan O'Toole

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