Limerick manager, John Kiely, has praised his players for the manner in which they saw out a close and tough game against Wexford in Innovate Park yesterday.
Though Limerick led for the majority of the game, they hit 14 wides and had to contend with a late Wexford comeback that Liam Óg McGovern denied a goal by the post.
However, the All Ireland champions finished the game strongly, thanks to points from substitutes, Bary Murphy and Darragh O’Donovan, which secured their first win in Division 1A of the Allianz League since 2010.
Speaking after the game, Kiely was delighted to come away with a game, insisting that his players brought the same attitude to it as they did to last year’s championship campaign.
“Delighted to get off the mark and get a win. Any day you get a win down here, it’s a good day’s work. It’s a very hard place to come and get a result. It’s my first time coming down here and getting a result.”
“What was really important for me was the attitude of the players, to see how they’d take to the game.”
“Even if you are winning matches and you feel that the attitude isn’t 100%, you’re probably more worried about that, whereas today I’m going home knowing the attitude was fantastic.”
“The lads really tore into that game with the same intensity, the same hunger and desire as they did in any game last year.”
Limerick spent the new year on their team holiday in Cancun and only returned to training a matter of weeks ago. Despite the win against Davy Fitzgerald’s side, Kiely admitted that his team still have a lot of work to do.
“We’re only back two and a half weeks into the training, we’ve had the Fitzgibbon Cup so it was a bit of a test coming down but the boys really dug in, worked really hard. I’m thrilled with the attitude they put in.”
“We know we’re behind the curve, we’ve a lot of work to do but we’re just going to knuckle down over the next couple of weeks and get on with it. We still have plenty of time.”
There was a sour note on the day, however, as both sides found themselves reduced to 14 men when Seamus Flanagan and Liam Ryan were involved in a scuffle on the sideline.
Kiely had no complaints about the red card and maintained that it provides a chance for another player to step up into the starting team.
“These incidents by the side of the pitch where they go up against the fence… The pitches are narrow, there’s not an awful lot of space there.”
“It’s a pity the incident happened. There was no need for it to happen but it did and we’re both down two players as a result and they’re both going to miss next week’s game and that’s a loss to them.”
“It is what it is. We can’t undo it and we just move on, that’s it, next man up.”
Limerick face a stern test when they return to the Gaelic Grounds for their first home game against Tipperary next Saturday night. Liam Sheedy’s men recorded a comprehensive win over 14-man Clare in Thurles at the weekend and with the absence of Flanagan, Kiely is hoping that some of his injury contingent may be a part of his match day panel.
“Kyle Hayes is back training, David Reidy is back doing a bit, Adrian Breen is back, they’re all back doing full training nearly now at this stage. They’re not maybe quite match ready, this week anyway, maybe next week, you never know.”