TOM CONDON WAS the last player that John Kiely sprung from the bench in Croke Park on Sunday, his final throw of the dice in trying to propel Limerick over the line.
The substitute’s input would prove crucial as Condon made that catch in the crowded goalmouth at the finish and was in possession at the final whistle when Limerick’s status as the newly-crowned All-Ireland champions was confirmed.
Kiely was grateful for Condon’s intervention. The only issue for the Limerick manager is he would have liked to have utilised more players in reserve and believes it is something that needs to be introduced to help counties cope after the first season of the new expanded hurling championship format.
“The one season that we wanted the system to change in the championship, it came at the right time,” stated Kiely.
“I knew this championship was designed for us. We had a massive panel of players, young players. Recovery was going to be quick.
“Twenty-seven was it (we used) in championship? That’s a lot. So that gives you a measure. And I made a point, with the round-robin, you need seven subs. We were caught yesterday because of two injuries.
“We had to replace two in the full-back line. We had to make other changes and we couldn’t because of the five restriction and I think with the round-robin series, that’s one of the things that needs to be done. A restriction needs to be lifted on the number of subs because they’re just getting cramped.”
Beyond that, Kiely has also called for flexibility in allowing counties to make alterations to their squads in the few days before games.
“You need to be able to change the panel between Wednesday and Sunday, that’s another restriction that needs to be changed. Sure, lads get injured in training on Friday night. Peter Casey got injured the other night. Went over on his ankle on a sliotar.
“It’s not good enough like that you’ve 36 players on a panel, you name 26 on Wednesday. One gets injured on Friday and you can’t use any of the other 10 fellas who have been working their ass for 10 months. Sure that’s wrong.
“It’s very unfair on Peter that he has to spend two days trying to get himself right or some way right literally 24 hours of the day and you have some lads that are 100% ready to go and you can’t just substitute them in. That doesn’t make sense at all.”
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