Limerick move quickly to dampen the hype

John Kiely and Shane Dowling plead for space to allow players focus on final task

Limerick are singing off the same hymn sheet anyway.

Speaking to RTÉ's Joanne Cantwell on the pitch, immediately after this seismic hurling match, Shane Dowling – teenage prodigy turned 25-year-old super sub to the tune of 1-4 which included the rocketed penalty that secured this delirium-inducing victory – spoke directly to his people.

"It's pure magic," beamed Dowling, "To hear Seán South from Garryowen ringing out there..."

But, suddenly, the smile disappeared as he remembered to slip into serious mode: “Listen, I will ask for one message; I’ll ask the supporters to enjoy it and I hope they embrace it but I do plead that they leave the players to focus for the next three weeks because we have been here a number of times in the last 30 or 40 years and this time I really hope we are not just going to get to the final to march behind the band.


“I want Limerick to go all the way.”

The green clad, red-faced among the 71,073 crowd burst into applause (too hoarse to yell).

“I think, Shane, you just made them worse!” Cantwell noted.

So, people of Limerick, no nagging your old primary school pal or ex-boyfriend or whoever is the local hero, for All-Ireland tickets.

With the supporters boxed off, the media were next to hear a stern warning. The following words by Limerick manager John Kiely may not be the wisest way to address national and local journalists but let's see how it went.

“Just before we start,” he began the post match press conference. “If I could just ask for one piece of co-operation over the next three weeks. Do not contact any of our group or I will shut the whole thing down, okay?”

The statement ends as a question but sounds a little like a threat (especially when repeated later).

“That’s it. Please give us the space to manage it,” continued the principal of Abbey CBS in Tipperary town.

“We will work with you. You know that. We have always worked with you. I have been very fair to the media over the last two years. I am sincerely just asking for that piece of respect, to contact the group leaders – i.e. the county board, the PRO or myself and do not contact the players directly. If one player is contacted directly I will shut the whole thing down, right? Let’s go.”

Question one: Dowling gave a similar message on television, is this something you spoke about before the game?

Incoming hype

“We haven’t even discussed it but we are all aware of it. Okay? Lets be honest about it now, we had our press conference and not every team facilitated that. So just a little bit of quid pro quo is what is needed. A little bit of co-operation. A bit of fairness and that’s all.”

The subtext being this is a professional sport played by amateurs and the management are attempting to control the incoming hype.

“There is no hype whatsoever. Hype is for the supporters, right? We have our own objectives, our own goals, our own work. We have our own routines, our own patterns and, like, we don’t have open training sessions, for example.

“The lads go to work every day, that’s it. We just go on about our daily lives. To be fair, the supporters have been absolutely fantastic and given us great space and I’m sure they will over the next few weeks as well. And this is not to become an issue.

It’s not an issue and that’s it.”

Kiely stopped short of describing the All-Ireland final as just another game.

The point he perhaps missed, or choose to ignore, when lecturing the media is it changed the focus from their truly epic performance to what comes next.

“Ah it does not at all. It doesn’t. No. It doesn’t. I am more than willing and ready to start talking about the game now. That’s all.”

Dowling finished his interview with a little story about the penalty in the third minute of injury-time in the second half of extra-time.

Limerick led by a point when Paul Kinnerk, the team trainer, entered the field.

“I looked at Paul and his words were: ‘This is how championship games are won - go for it’ and I did.”

That’s one of many tales from this great game. Hype is uncontrollable.