John Kiely says Limerick must improve for All-Ireland final after dominant win over Waterford

John Kiely was fresh from watching his Limerick team dominate Waterford for the majority of their All-Ireland semi-final, but feels there is still room for improvement.

The reigning Liam MacCarthy Cup holders were deserved 1-25 to 0-17 winners at Croke Park.

“We worked hard. But we know there’s room for improvement there. I don’t think it was quite where we wanted it to be ultimately today,” Kiely said after the match.

“I think we can work harder than that. We need to work the ball even better than what we did today. There were times when we coughed up possession when there was no need to lose possession. So it’s just fine-tuning that connectivity in the group.

“We’ll work on that for the next two weeks.”

Peter Casey was shown a straight red card in the second half, and Limerick may choose to appeal his automatic one-game suspension which would rule the Na Piarsaigh star out of the All-Ireland final.

“I’ve known Peter since he was a very young lad, and that most certainly was not in his make-up, I can assure you of that. We’ll have to look at the footage and take it from there. Peter is very shocked by it. We’re all shocked by it. But we’ll have to look at the footage,” Kiely said.

“I do know that from talking to Peter that there was a clash of heads alright, yes. But nothing malicious. Or nothing of any significance, really. But, at the same time, you have to be very, very careful. Especially when you’re in that position. Listen, for us, at the minute, we’ll just take a day or two and reflect and see what the picture looks like and take it from there. But I think at the minute we can probably take it that he won’t be with us.”

Overall, the Galbally man was pleased with his side’s display.

“From the get-go, we had good shape and structure to what we were about. It took us a while, the scoreboard was slow getting off the mark for both sides today. I think after 12 minutes it was 0-4 to 0-3 so it was slow in getting in going,” he said.

“But, at the same time, we were creating chances and were using the ball well and we had a good structure and we felt secure at the back. We worked hard. I still think there’s a bit more in us in that regard. Hopefully the game today will help us be able to give ourselves a platform to go up another notch in our work rate.

“But in terms of our efficiency and use of the ball I was very, very pleased.”

Aaron Gillane’s goal was the main turning point, killing off a spell of Waterford momentum.

“The goal came from our work rate, really,” Kiely outlined.

“The pressure we put on in that particular area. I was really pleased with the directness of our running and the support that came on to support the person. [Peter Casey] offloaded to Heggo (Gearoid Hegarty).

“It was most pleasing first of all that we got the possession out of sheer work-rate. That was the most pleasing aspect. A great finish and not to concede a goal today was really a significant achievement for our defence.

“That was, I won’t say it was a goal as such, but it was a tremendous reward for the quality of our defending today. I thought our defending was superb.”

And he was felt there was a buzz around HQ with 24,000 in attendance, the biggest gathering in Ireland since the start of the lockdown in March 2020.

“The city was alive with people from both sides, from Waterford and Limerick, all excited,” he said.

“Families out, grandparents, parents and kids going to games again. Heads sticking out of cars. Fellas swigging an auld can of cider, whatever it might be. It’s a bit of normality back again. It’s another step forwards for us getting our lives back together again. It’s just lovely to see people happy, enjoying themselves and enjoying the sport, and having a day out.

“We can just go to matches and enjoy them. So we’re making great progress. It’s super to see so many here, and please God we’ll have more the next day.”

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