Limerick manager John Kiely has insisted that all disciplinary matters have been included within the confines of the county’s hurling set-up.
The 2018 All-Ireland champions are just 13 days away from their first competitive match of the new season, however, preparations have been hindered by a number of controversies off the field.
Last month, two players were sent home from New York following an incident that took place after Limerick took part in the Super 11s Hurling Classic in Citi Field.
“Limerick GAA expects the highest standards of behaviour and example from its players, both on and off the field, and will not tolerate any breach of those standards”, the county board said in a statement at the time.
“A disciplinary process has commenced and there will be no further comment in relation to this matter.”
Kiely towed the same line when interviewed for the first time since the incident.
At the launch of the Co-Op Superstores Munster Hurling League 2020, Kiely insisted that the matter will be kept in-house.
“I think we made it clear at the time when we issued our statement that there wasn’t going to be any further comment on the matter. It is an internal matter.
“It is like any organisation I am sure, disciplinary matters in a newspaper or a radio station. You are not going to be going out and airing them in the public after. It is like all disciplinary matters they are handled inhouse. As far as we are concerned the matter is closed.
“We are back training since last Tuesday and 2019 has been concluded and we are looking forward to 2020 with great anticipation. We have a lot of changes in our backroom team and a number of players who have joined the group. We are very much looking forward to 2020.”
The Galbally native confirmed that he will not be releasing a panel list for a number of weeks as he looks to settle on his squad. While supporters will have to wait and see whether the players in question will be involved in the early parts of 2020, two players who won’t be returning are Richie McCarthy and Paul Browne following their retirements.
Kiely paid tribute to the long-serving duo and admitted he wasn’t surprised by Browne’s decision given the 30-year-old’s cruciate injury in 2018.
“These guys have suffered a number of serious injuries and they have been on the road a long long time. It is mileage and it is injuries. You can see from yourselves, the demands that this game places on these players it is just tremendous.
“You have to be physically at an exceptionally high level in order to be able to compete at the highest level. That is not possible if you have suffered these serious injuries. An ACL injury literally takes you out of the game for 12 months.
“It is so difficult, late in your career, to recover from those and get yourself back up to a level that is going to put you competitive at the highest level. The younger players like Sean Finn, for example, had an ACL injury a number of years ago. He has been able to come back from it because he got it when he was 20 years of age.
“It is all in context of when you suffer these serious injuries and how you are able to recover from them. The bottom line is these guys have no regrets. They have made huge contributions and we know we have seen what they have done in training, in the dressing room, what they have done out on the pitch. The sacrifices they have made in their personal lives.
“They have given everything for the jersey of Limerick and they are deserved of all the plaudits they got when they announced their retirements.”
Limerick face All-Ireland champions Tipperary in their opening Munster Hurling League game on December 20.
While the Treaty men are expected to have a major say on the 2020 season, Kiely insists that Liam Sheedy’s men deserve to be the team to beat.
“Tipperary are the worthy All-Ireland champions. They were fantastic in the semi-final and the final. They are undisputed All-Ireland champions and that is the bottom line. They come back into this season, where we were this time 12 months ago.
“They are going to have to know that is everybody is out there to challenge them in their bid to retain the title and that is the way it is and the way it should be. They are an experienced side, they have been through it before.
“But I think every team is looking forward to getting out there and put their best foot forward and try and be the best team they can be in 2020.”