Limerick have plenty of work ahead of SHC

Seamus Flanagan leaves the pitch after the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 semi-final match between Limerick and Kilkenny at SuperValu Páirc Ui Chaoimh. Photo: Brendan Moran.

HOLDERS Limerick have a month to work on some defensive issues of concern- including this week’s warm-weather training camp in Portugal – ahead of the massive Munster Senior Hurling Championship opener against League Finalists Clare at Cusack Park, Ennis on May 21.

For the second consecutive fixture at the venue, Limerick leaked three goals in the unexpected National League semi-final loss to Kilkenny at the weekend.

Earlier in the competition, the usually water-tight Shannonsiders defence also conceded a trio of green flags on Leeside but survived against Tipperary.

Not surprisingly, Limerick boss John Kiely was far from impressed with the exit from the pennant competition.

“We made a lot of very basic errors: dropped balls, missed pick-ups, misplaced and incomplete passes. Just a lack of energy and a lack of cohesion in our performance that we were very disappointed with,” he told RTÉ Sport.

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“It’s a disappointing end to our league campaign. We came here with the intention of winning the game to go on to a league final, that was part of our preparations for the championship, and now we have been unceremoniously kicked out of it by a much better team on the day.”

He added: “There might have been eight points on the scoreboard but it was 16-20 points in reality. I would say in the eight years now we are on the road it would be in the top two or three poorest performances of our time.

“That performance was at a shockingly low level from our perspective. That’s disappointing to say but it’s the reality. We have a lot of work to do in the coming weeks.”

Peter Casey’s red-card will not be appealed and the sanction rules the 2021 All-Star out of the championship opener with the Banner.

After the Clare test, Limerick have examinations against Tipperary (home), Cork (away) and Waterford (home).