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Home / News / Kiely ‘never hesitated in picking’ Hayes to face Dublin

Kiely ‘never hesitated in picking’ Hayes to face Dublin

Limerick manager John Kiely says he had no hesitation in picking Kyle Hayes to start Saturday’s 3-30 to 1-18 league win over Dublin at Croke Park.

The wing-back was involved in his first inter-county action of this season as the reigning All-Ireland winners continued their Allianz Hurling League Division 1B campaign.

The 25-year-old was found guilty by a jury in December last of two counts of violent disorder inside and outside a Limerick nightclub October 2019, a charge he denied.

Sentencing was adjourned until 20 March when the four-time All-Star and five-time All-Ireland winner will learn whether he is to serve a custodial sentence.

Speaking in the post-match press conference after the victory over Dublin, Kiely said he had no doubts about selecting Hayes.

“Never, never hesitated in picking him,” he said, adding that the player “did great” during a match in which he scored a point.

Meanwhile, Kiely also praised the astuteness of Cathal O’Neill as the attacker revelled in a new centre half-back role.

With Declan Hannon absent and David Reidy having to withdraw from the named team due to a hamstring injury, O’Neill found out on Thursday night that he was going to be starting in the heart of defence.

Cathal O’Neill in action at Croke Park

He looked right at home as he combined good defensive play with four points at the other end in a performance that left his manager very satisfied.

“It’s something we’ve been thinking about, I suppose, for some time as a possibility,” Kiely told RTÉ Sport.

“Just waiting for the right opportunity maybe to be able to do that is the thing.

“With Declan out and with David unable to start tonight – he gave his hamstring a small tweak during the week – we just said okay, maybe now is the right time.

“I think he should be very, very happy with the way he equipped himself tonight.

“It’s a learning curve for him, Cathal has huge capacity as an athlete and as a player. He learns very quickly on the hoof. There’ll be things he did and he didn’t do tonight that when he looks back on them, he’ll say ‘okay, right, I should have gone here or there’, whatever.

“He’ll learn from it, he’s a very, very astute student of the game in his own right.

“For us it’s brilliant that we have a game into him here at Croke Park in that position. All of those things are plusses for us.

“It doesn’t mean he’s going to be in the half-back line for the rest of the year by any stretch of the imagination, he’s a very versatile player, a very adept player in many positions; he gives you that scoring threat coming from deep as well.”

For 30 minutes, the sides were on a level keel, Dublin responding well to Donnacha Ó Dalaigh’s goal after just 13 seconds.

The Treaty County took over from there though leaving Kiely pleased with their evening’s work.

“A good, solid performance I think is how I would describe it.

“Dublin brought a lot of energy in the first 20 minutes, a huge energy, really challenged us on their own puck-out and it took us maybe a little bit of time to adjust.

Tom Morrissey fires home Limerick’s second goal

“Got a great goal obviously ourselves at the start, right down the middle of their defence, and it was very well finished, but I think (the) last 10 minutes before the half-time break, we took the ascendency. We got the last 1-02 before half time and it put a bit of daylight between the two teams.

“We had weathered the storm a bit and I think we brought huge energy to the first five, 10 minutes of the second half, pushed on and widened that gap.”

Despite 18 points separating the sides at the finish, Dublin boss Micheál Donoghue was fairly upbeat.

“Plenty to learn from it and that’s what I’ve said to the lads inside,” he said.

“Limerick are the standard bearers and when they get opportunities they’re very clinical. We saw that to our cost.

“I think there was still a lot of positives to take out of it, particularly in the first half.”

The return of some key figures helped Donoghue’s mood and they’ll hope to finish the league with a stronger team in place.

“We got Donal Burke back on the pitch, Danny (Sutcliffe) back on the pitch, Chris Crummey’s first appearance as well.

“Disappointed with the result, the margin, but we have two more games to go so it’s down again and try and get as close to our strongest on the pitch.”

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