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John Kiely hails Limerick: 'It was a tremendous battle. I am super proud of my guys'

Another provincial senior hurling final success for the Limerick boss today.

John Kiely celebrates with the Mick Mackey Cup.
John Kiely celebrates with the Mick Mackey Cup.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

LIMERICK BOSS JOHN Kiely hailed his players for emerging victorious from another ferocious test with Clare as they were crowned champions in today’s Munster hurling final.

It took extra-time and a show of resolve from Limerick to seal the result, with Kiely praising his players for grinding out the win.

“It feels phenomenal because the challenge we had to overcome was immense. There were times there when things weren’t stringing together and we were struggling. We just had to keep going. It was one of those days where you just had to keep grinding.

“Even in the second half of normal time we had a lot of the play, we just didn’t convert enough of our chances into scores. We had just too many wides.

“Listen, when you leave the door open with a one-point deficit and Tony Kelly has a sideline 21 yards out on the left hand side, you are opening the door. There was a chink of light and he struck it through the chink of light and that is a measure of the man he is himself.

“All hats off to my crew, I am so proud of them. We had a tough spring. We worked really hard. We have come through the round-robin and as you can see, we really wanted to win this game today. It meant a huge amount to us. Very proud of the display by the lads, in particular the way they just stuck at it was really important. When the lads came off the bench, they made a huge impact, as well.”

Kiely felt Limerick’s composure proved significant.

“Hugely. And we made reference to it after normal time and coming into extra-time that we had been here before with Cork in 2018. We have had a good few games go into that phase. Having that is great to look back on as a reference point going out again.

“Listen, this Clare team, you are going to earn every single crumb you have with them. They work really hard and they are hugely full of energy. They are great hurlers, so we are thrilled with the result.

gearoid-hegarty-celebrates-with-a-fan Gearoid Hegarty celebrates Limerick's win with a fan. Source: Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO

“The goal was vital actually because it kept us in toe and closed the gap. Every score mattered out there today as we saw with the sideline from Tony. It was a tremendous battle. I am super proud of my guys because they have huge work put in over the last number of years, and whether there is four weeks or 54 weeks between now and the semi-final, we are damn glad to have to won our match today.

“They are two honest sides who really go at each other in every sense of the word. I think there was no quarter asked or given, it was a very honest performance from both sides and the game could have gone any way. I just think our experience shone through in the finish and we were able to find those vital scores when it mattered.”

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william-odonoghue-celebrates-at-the-final-whistle-as-robyn-mounnsey-looks-on William O'Donoghue celebrates at the final whistle as Robyn Mounsey looks on. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Kiely paid tribute to man-of-the-match Seamus Flanagan, who struck 0-8 from play, in a sensational performance up front.

“Seamus (was) massive, yeah. He would have been disappointed with his performance in Ennis the last day. Struggled to get on ball and just to get to the pitch of it. He had a broken thumb, that’s the bottom line, so he was out for a number of weeks.

“The game’s so fast and inside in the full-forward line, your touch has to be immaculate in order to control the ball. So it was going to take a game or two to get up to the pitch of it. But all credit to him today, he worked really, really hard as did everybody out there.”

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from Semple Stadium

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