29 Sept 2022

OPINION: No need for Limerick hurling fans to reach for the panic button - Jerome O'Connell

OPINION: No need for Limerick hurling fans to reach for the panic button - Jerome O'Connell

Limerick hurling manager John Kiely and coach Paul Kinnerk

IT’S right there in front of all Limerick hurling followers – a giant green panic button.

And, there’s the obligatory sign: ‘Only press in case of emergency’.

The Limerick hurlers are four games without a victory and just over five weeks from championship but let’s not reach to press that panic button just yet.

With thoughts fast turning to the Easter Sunday start to championship there is a clamour for form-lines and let’s be honest that doesn’t augur well for Limerick.

Going into championship with a run of defeats is not what anyone would consider best practise so let’s try push all that to one side.

What Limerick hurling followers do need is trust.

Internally the Limerick hurling camp places a massive emphasis on trust these last few years as John Kiely, Paul Kinnerk, Caroline Currid and others moulded championship also-rans into three time champions.

Now it’s time for the thousands who have enjoyed the hurling journey across the last five years to trust in their masterplan.

Right now Limerick are well off the pace set by others but the reality is that those sparkling this February and March are those with the greatest need for a winning confidence and perhaps even silverware – Cork, Waterford, Wexford and Dublin.

Would all Limerick hurling followers have liked to see somewhat more spark from their heroes? Yes, of course.

But we can all only trust that their training is timed for an Easter Rising come championship time.

And, while the gap in performance between Limerick and the opposition appears more stark this season, let’s not forget the 2021 league wasn’t exactly swashbuckling from the men in green. Indeed round one of the Munster SHC against Cork wasn’t a vintage performance and no one forgets the first half against Tipperary.

But they certainly hit top form from there until they lifted silverware high in the Hogan Stand.

So let’s all trust that that Kiely, Kinnerk and new S&C coach Cairbre O’Caireallain will have all timed to perfection once again.

And, to be fair they have a body of work ahead of them for we have seen four league displays that were most un-Limerick like in terms of errors, inaccuracies and sometimes work-rate.

Yes, all counties are working harder to disrupt Limerick but as back-to-back champions that comes with the territory.

Yes, supporters and some pundits across Ireland are enjoying the current below par performances and that too comes with the territory of success.

John Kiely has backed the character of his players to bounce back and as Limerick hurling followers the best way to repay the players for the last few years is to keep the faith, trust in the plan and travel to the four championship games in droves and indeed the final league tie with Offaly on March 20 in the TUS Gaelic Grounds.

Even if all does fall flat, surely they have enough brownie points built up for all to at least trust in their plan for now and resist pressing that giant big panic button.

To borrow from Martin Luther King: ‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy’.

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