“He’ll use that as motivation to say, ‘Look, we can’t let that happen again.’
Kilkenny eased to a 10-point victory over Wexford in round three of the league, however former Kilkenny star JJ Delaney feels Wexford were holding things back ahead of a possible championship rematch.
Delaney remarked how both sides are due to meet in a Leinster semi-final in the likely event that Wexford overcome Laois and the Sky Sports pundit believes that Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald will use this defeat as a motivation for the championship.
Kilkenny claimed a 2-27 to 0-23 point win over their opponents though Delaney thinks that Fitzgerald will not be too bothered by the defeat.
Wexford unbeaten in six matches against Kilkenny beforehand.
“I think he (Fitzgerald) held a couple of things back. He wasn’t very animated himself on the line either, he kind of let the game play out,” Delaney said.
“I think what he’s going to do is use that game against the players, obviously if they get over Laois they’ll play Kilkenny next in the championship.
“He’ll use that as motivation to say, ‘Look, we can’t let that happen again.’ Davy likes to be the underdog, he likes ‘the world is against us’ philosophy.
“So he’ll use that game that, ‘Kilkenny went down there and they hammered ye. So get that fight back in the jersey, get that motivation back in yourself, win your individual one-on-one battles as well.’
JJ Delaney felt strongest Wexford team were not starting against Kilkenny.
“He finished the game with a stronger 15 than he started. So that shows me that he gave lads opportunities and they didn’t take it.
“But I’d say Davy knows his starting 15 and that starting 15 wasn’t starting against Kilkenny, but it will in a few weeks’ time as motivation to say ‘Right, we need to up our game a lot here regarding physicality, our tempo and having everyone at maximum ability for that game.’
“So I’d say he didn’t really mind losing that game, to be honest with you, especially with the win he had in Clare two weeks before that. I’d say he was happy enough with where he was and just let the game play out, but he’ll use it as trigger points for certain players coming up in the future.”
JJ Delaney suggests that John Kiely may be concerned with poor Limerick start.
The Limerick hurlers won all 13 of their competitive matches in 2020 but have failed to win any of their three league games to date.
Delaney feels that John Kiely might be a bit worried about his side’s poor start to the new season.
“I think John might be a small bit concerned with the fringe players that got the opportunity, and didn’t really take it, to be honest with you,” he said.
“They probably will go back to the same 15, maybe one or two different guys might go in and put their hand up between now and the end of the league.
“But I think the starting XV, you can predict it for Limerick. That’s maybe what John wanted from this league, to find a few new players and put a bit of pressure on the starting 15.
“Paddy O’Loughlin is gone off the panel, he could have been pushing one of those guys, pushing the likes of Byrnes or Declan Hannon or someone like that.”
All-Ireland champions have lost their last two games.
“But he’s gone, there’s another option gone there as well. I’d say he’ll be a small bit concerned. When you’re the defending All-Ireland champions, where a team is playing you, it’s not just a game [for them], it’s setting down a marker for the later on in the year.
“So it’s not just a league game for everyone else. So I think they’ll probably understand now where they have to be at. I think the first couple of rounds in the league were probably, ‘Ok right, we’ve dusted the cobwebs off now we have to go again.’
“So I think it’s important that they learn from the first couple of games that they have to be mentally and physically up for every game they play. They can’t have a night off.”
Limerick are yet to field their strongest side in 2021.
The seven-time all-star remarked how Limerick have not been at full strength in their opening three league ties as Gearoid Hegarty and Tom Morrissey have hardly featured together.
“But I suppose you didn’t have Gearoid Hegarty and Tom Morrissey on the same starting 15 there as well,” the former Kilkenny star said.
“When the two of them are not on the field it’s very easy to concentrate on the one guy that is on the field but when there’s two of them on the field – do you put your best man marker or physical guy on – you have to pick and choose. It gives the other guy a bit more space to make hay.
“Overall I’d say John was hoping to get more out of the league so far. But he’ll have to use the rest of the league to get his starting XV and get his guys physically and mentally right for every game because it’s going to be a huge battle.
“They’re not going to get that rub of the green, the referees are not going to give that 50:50 decision anymore.
“As a team, they’re going to have to accept that and use it as a motivational factor, and say, ‘We can’t let it down to the last five minutes, we have to finish off the games with 10 minutes to go’ and all that kind of stuff too.”
Delaney won nine All-Ireland’s with Kilkenny before retiring in 2014.