John Kiely delighted to secure more silverware:

By Cian O’Connell

Limerick manager John Kiely was delighted that his team delivered under pressure at Croke Park.

Trailing by five points in the 42nd minute following Paddy Deegan’s goal, Limerick responded impressively.

“They are an incredible bunch, they have worked so hard together and there’s never ever a night at training where these boys don’t deliver everything they had in the tank, and I just felt I wanted this for them,” Kiely reflected.

“I really, really wanted them to achieve this one. You never know when you are going to get the chances again, you never get a chance like that anyway for certain.

“Kilkenny then brought a huge challenge for us in that first 25 minutes, their intensity levels were through the roof.

“Everywhere we had the ball there was three or four of them tackling us, we turned over ball, they created scoring chances and took their scoring chances. They got a great goal, that first goal was really well taken.

“We were struggling on their puckout and our puckout and I could go on. It wasn’t a pretty picture at that stage.

“They were up and with a breeze at their back they could have easily got more scores up, but we managed to respond at that stage in many different ways.”

A crucial burst before the interval was significant according to Kiely.

“Our intensity went up ourselves, we were getting to the tackle and making proper tackles and we were getting numbers to the ball,” he added.

“We were beginning to turn them over and we were efficient in that last 10 minutes. The chances we got, we converted. Down through the middle we carried the ball really well, we linked the ball really well and they were the pieces we struggled with in the first 20 minutes.

“We were getting turned over in that area and when you get turned over in the middle, it’s a score straight away.

“We were retaining that ball, Cian (Lynch) was linking it, David Reidy was linking it, Tom Morrissey was linking it and Darragh O’Donovan was linking it and Peter Casey came and linked it.

“We got great scores there and managed to close the gap to two then just before half time, and with the breeze that was there, that was a solid performance, if it was ropey for the first 25 minutes of it.”

After the restart Limerick delivered a remarkable display.

“We regrouped at half time, Paul (Kinnerk) did a super job in reorganising the lads and when I spoke to them initially, their feedback was very honest and very much on the point,” Kiely commented.

“They knew exactly where they were struggling, they knew exactly what they needed to do and we’ve been very strong in the third quarter all year, really really strong and today was the day we needed to be strong.

“I think in the first two plays we created two scoring chances, we didn’t score them but it was indicator for what was to come.

“Once we got the ball and it started ticking over the bar, we got a good rhythm going and got into flow. They got a great goal again and we responded really well at that stage as well.

“They got the next point but we got the next four after that, so that was a really important piece as well. But once we got our noses in front and the lads came off the bench, we saw out the game really well.”

The fact that Limerick adequately dealt with different challenges faced throughout the campaign in Munster and the All-Ireland series encouraged Kiely.

“I’m sure you’re probably tired of me saying it, but there were times during the course of the year where we were really under the cosh, and in some matches the games could have gone against us,” Kiely recalled.

“In the round robin in Munster there was a huge challenge brought our way and we kept battling away, we found a way to win those games or get a draw and get something out of them.

“Once I think we got out of Munster it gave us that opportunity to go back and do a little bit of work and get a bit of freshness into us, and we got stronger from all those games really as we went on.

“Once we got our breather after the Munster championship, we were able to push on from there.”