LIMERICK hurlers are “building something strong and sustainable” for the future vowed manager John Kiely minutes after his side ended their 2017 campaign.
Saturday’s three point loss to Kilkenny saw Limerick exit the championship at the very first hurdle – indeed it’s 2002 since the Limerick hurlers’ season ended as early from the calendar year.
It’s 2010 and previously 2008 since Limerick last suffered defeat in round one of the Munster SHC and then round one of the backdoor system.
By his own admission, the Limerick manager was “disgusted” that the season is over, but he promised all were working towards a positive future.
“We are building something strong and sustainable and it will be there into the future. It is there but it’s just so disappointing that the opportunity tonight to make a very significant step wasn’t taken and the opportunity was there to be taken,” he said.
The defeats to Clare and Kilkenny saw Limerick use 23 different players – seven making their debuts and another four only in their second season. Also, Limerick had to play both games without injured duo Diarmaid Byrnes and William O’Donoghue.
“I’m disgusted that the year is over - we have so much put in. The boys have dedicated the entire last eight months to this and to lose two championship matches, one with a performance we were not happy with and the second one with a performance that brought us so close to the line but we couldn’t get across that line,” explained Kiely, at the end of year one of his three year term.
“We have to go back and reflect and it’s not going to be very enjoyable reflecting on our season - when it came down to the big games we just didn’t get the results. It’s a results based game,” sighed Kiely.
Limerick operated with a 31-man championship panel, which was largely youthful.
Seamus Hickey, Richie McCarthy, James Ryan, Gavin O’Mahony and Tom Condon are all 30 this year and appear the only panelists that could contemplate inter-county retirement. Hickey and McCarthy started against Kilkenny, with county captain Ryan and O’Mahony introduced as subs.