John Kiely insists “mature” Limerick ready for massive Kilkenny challenge
Jerome O’Connell Limerick Leader Sport
LIMERICK will have their “hands full” for the “massive challenge” of Kilkenny in Sunday’s All Ireland SHC quarter final, according to manager John Kiely.
Members of the Limerick management were in Croke Park for the drawn Leinster SHC final and in Thurles last Sunday when Kilkenny lost to Galway in the provincial decider replay and this Tuesday evening, Kiely gave his opinion on Limerick’s Thurles opponents.
“Kilkenny dug in and held on and held on and got a few goals to bring them back into it and showed great composure and calmness and you have to admire thier ability to keep in and stay in games, even when everything is going against them,” said John Kiely at his media briefing ahead of the quarter final.
“They have a great depth to their panel as well and you saw.”
The sides also met last year – Brian Cody’s side winning 0-20 to 0-17 in a Nowlan Park qualifier.
“I think both teams have improved from last year – Kilkenny are league champions and went to a Leinster final replay and the manner in which they came back last Sunday was super impressive so we know we have a huge challenge on our hands Sunday. Both teams have improved and it will be interesting to see who has improved the most,” outlined Kiely.
“I think all the (Limerick) players are a bit more mature and they have the benefit of two years coaching and two years physical development – a lot of the lads just have a bit more experience under their belts.”
The Limerick manager insisted that his side were concentrating more on themselves than the opposition.
“We are looking to get the best possible performance we can and put it out there and really go for it on Sunday – we know we have our hands full and it’s going to be massive challenge but we are really looking forward to it,” he said.
Limerick are bidding to reach a first semi final since 2014.
“It’s an All Ireland quarter final, no bigger, no smaller,” insists the manager.
What of Kilkenny fatigue as they face into a third successive weekend of action.
“There won’t be any leaning on any factor like that in terms of our mentality going into the game,” stressed Kiely.
“It’s a knockout quarter final and it’s a case of making sure we deliver the best performance we can.”
The quarter final tie will have a 2pm throw-in on Sunday and will be live on RTE One television from Semple Stadium. The curtain-raiser in Thurles will be the All Ireland MHC quarter final tie between Galway and Kilkenny at 12noon.
Tickets for Thurles are available to purchase online at gaa.tickets.ie and from Centra and SuperValu outlets.
There is a pre-purchase saving of €5 on stand tickets. Tickets for both the ‘Old Stand’ (Ardan O’Coinneain or Kinane Stand) and the ‘New Stand’ (Ardan O’Riain) are priced at €30 if bought ahead of matchday. On Sunday, stand tickets will cost €35.
At present only the Killinan End terrace (€25) will be open, unless demand deems otherwise.
Limerick have a fully fit panel, part from the long term injured Paul Browne and suspended Tom Condon.