It took just 35 days for the five-man committee to name the new manager of the Limerick senior hurling team.
John Kiely’s name was always in the pot and while many were interviewed he was seen as the best person for the post. One source said, “He didn’t have any baggage and that’s important for Limerick now.” Kiely will be joined by Paul Kinnerk as coach and Joe O’Connor who will look after strength and conditioning. Jim Quilty will be a selector with one more to be appointed.
From a knowledge point of view John Kiely will be very aware of the player base in the county but he will also be aware that he faces a major challenge to lift the morale around the county. Limerick slipped badly over the past three years. Little if any progress was made and while he will be seen as a good choice he will know that this is a results-based business.. Make no mistake this is a crucial appointment for Limerick hurling because we have slipped well back in the pecking order.
I would think Paul Kinnerk was a target for the five-man committee from the outset and he will now join Joe O’Connor, both of whom were part of the Clare management team in 2013. It will take a lot of things going right for Limerick to make progress but this is a foundation to build on and a step in the right direction.
There can be no excuses and many will watch with great interest for a statement of intent from this management team. Big calls will need to be made in relation to the panel and that could have a huge part to play in the long term success of this group. Limerick hurling needs a strong hand, a man who will have the vision and passion to deliver success. I really hope John Kiely can steer Limerick forward. This is his first time to operate at senior level and that is totally different to U-21 or underage levels.
I understand the current senior panel were written to in recent weeks. They were thanked for their efforts but also advised that the new manager will be picking his own panel. This was the correct thing to do. I would think that most supporters will be looking for freshness in the set up. It should not be easy to get the green jersey but when you do it comes with terms and conditions.
Some players have given good service to Limerick but there comes a time when they have it all given. Picking the right players is crucial and hurling is only one part of the qualities required to win an All Ireland title.
John Kiely has built up a good experience over the past few years but he will need it all to survive at this level. This is a different arena. The task will require all sides working together with a common goal. I do hope he brings a bit of humility to the entire set up. That’s needed and lads need to come down to ground.
I have witnessed some the finest teams win All Ireland titles in Croke Park. It takes leaders on the field and leaders on the line. Setting the standards is the job of the manager and the players must travel a road not yet travelled if success is to follow.
It’s a huge honour to manage Limerick and I wish John Kiely and his management team well in that role. The journey will have many difficult roads but if people feel the right calls are being made then he can be assured of their support.