John Kiely never doubted his players’ hunger would show in the Championship despite their lackluster performances in the league.
The Limerick manager revealed the team undertook intense physical work in the spring and less than impressive performances in February and March were “the price we had to pay”.
“I see them on a Tuesday and a Friday where people see them on a Sunday. We knew the effort and energy was there on a Tuesday and Friday when we came back in January.
“We struggled to maintain that energy for the whole week every week and sometimes we didn’t get the energy exerted by the group as a whole on a Sunday in the spring that we would have liked to have. It just wasn’t there because we had a block of work to do during the week to prepare for the championship. It was just the price we had to pay.
“We were always disappointed with our performances but we would never have doubted what this group is still capable of producing when they have such energy on the pitch.
“But look, it’s still just the first round of a round robin. There’s still a long way to go, so now it’s on to next week and the Gaelic Grounds. I think we owe the Gaelic Grounds a better performance this time around than what we have given in the past few weeks (losses to Galway and Cork). And I can’t wait to get it.
Kiely was pleased with what he saw from his players as they inflicted Cork’s worst Championship defeat on Páirc Uí Chaoimh in 26 years.
“It was satisfying from a work perspective, how hard the boys worked for the team and for themselves. They were able to generate a huge amount of energy on the pitch and make sure that that energy is exerted on the ball a lot. I think that was the key element, really, so I’m very happy with that aspect. Seventeen wide as well, so the efficiency of the shot would be something we would be disappointed with There were a couple of line breaks (Cork) that I wouldn’t be happy with either, but they were our own making as opposed to Cork making.”
Asked about facing Waterford this Saturday, Kiely said he expects his players will need to make a massive change against Liam Cahill’s men. “It’s going to take a lot of energy; that’s for sure. They’ve been hip-to-hip with us now for a few years. It’s a good side. We have a lot of respect for them as a group.