John Kiely and his Limerick side picked up another piece of silverware on Saturday evening as a 1-32 to 0-20 victory over Cork saw them claim the 2020 Co Op Superstores Munster Hurling League title at the LIT Gaelic Grounds.
Victory in the competition in 2018 proved to be a major catalyst in Limerick’s eventual All-Ireland win.
The 15-point win doesn’t guarantee success, but certainly providing plenty of optimism. Acting captain on the night in the absence of injured Declan Hannon, Cian Lynch was delighted to get his first run out of the year.
The Patrickswell man also acknowledged the input of the panel’s new members who were prominent once again at the Ennis Road venue. “It’s great. Nice to shake off the cobwebs, personally it was my first game of the year in the green jersey.
“For all the new lads on the panel, pushing each other, it’s great. It’s nice to see all the supporters come out from Limerick and Cork for a game in early January. It’s early days yet and I’m sure we’ll have many more battles with Cork throughout the year.”
However, the victory will soon be forgotten about as Limerick prepare to defend their National League title when that competition resumes on Saturday week. First up for Limerick is the reigning All-Ireland champions Tipperary in Semple Stadium on Saturday January 25th.
In reference to the League, Lynch says it’s all to play for with each team on a level playing field.
“The league is coming quick and fast and it’s going to be a different ball game in two week’s time. Every team is on the same wavelength, back training hard, doing their bit. It’s all to play for.”
Once again during the league final David Reidy was unerring from placed balls ad despite Aaron Gillane’s presence, the Dromin Athlacca continued with free-taking duties. Also prominent was David Dempsey who notched 0-5 from play, as was Barry Nash who was named Man of the Match after an excellent performance in the half-back line.
These are not new to the scene but have all failed to nail down a starting place in the John Kiely’s starting XV over the past couple of years. Their performances on Saturday once again highlighted the importance of having a strong panel for the year ahead with Lynch referring the squad aspect of the game.
“That’s what it’s about and it’s brilliant. It’s not about a panel of 15, it’s about a panel of 36 and that’s what most teams have nowadays. The likes of David Reidy and David Dempsey putting their hand up today and it’s great, it brings massive competition.”
Lynch continued saying that no one player is comfortable in their position with everyone fighting for their jersey.
“There’s no one settling for their position or happy with the jersey they got for the day. They know the next day is as important, so you’ve to keep pushing and keep driving on.”
Lynch also congratulated his football contemporaries who secured McGrath Cup honours with victory over Cork on the same night.
“It’s great for the football lads. They train as hard.”
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