Patrickswell looking to bring county glory back to the club after 13 years

Manager Gary Kirby speaks to Newstalk.com ahead of their final clash with Ballybrown

BY Cian Roche 14:00 Friday 21 October 2016, 14:00 21 Oct 2016

Image: ©INPHO/Keith Wiseman 

Patrickswell left the pitch last year at the Gaelic Grounds, knowing they were within a whisker of writing themselves into history.

Ciaran Carey's ran Na Piarsaigh close, coming within a point of clinching the Limerick county title, and for the second year running, they find themselves facing down the barrel of a final.

The defeat, while bitterly disappointing for the team, helped shed light on the amount of quality that is in the side, knowing that they were inches from beating the eventual All-Ireland hurling champions. The result, says new manager Gary Kirby, will help fuel a renewed challenge for a title they have not won since 2003.

"I hope it would," Kirby told Newstalk.com. "What you  saw on the field after last year’s final was hurt, and they did hurt over it, losing that final. Hopefully they’ll bring that hurt and use that in a positive way next Sunday.

"You try to use every advantage you can and you use what you can to get every extra bit out of the players. If we can use that little bit of hurt that was there last year and use it to lift us a notch we will most certainly use it.

"By [Na Piarsaigh] winning the All-Ireland, it tells our guys that we’re not that far off the mark. It’s only a matter of upping it another notch."

Former Patrickswell manager Ciaran Carey despondent after the final whistle last year. Image: ©INPHO/Keith Wiseman

Patrickswell booked their place in the final with a four point victory over Killmallock, but Kirby admits he isn't going to tailor his game-plan to any team.

"We’ve got a defensive game plan to counter any team really. We have looked at their style of play, and we have looked at their players. We will pick our team to suit ourselves first.

"I would expect them to continue what they’re doing because not only did they beat Adare, they also came through a tough group which contained Na Piarsaigh and Doon. They came through that group without losing a match. I can’t see why they would change their game just to suit us. We are expecting a fierce tough game."

Kirby was part of the 2003 team that clinched the Limerick title with a two-point victory over Adare, and is well aware of big occasions like this at a club level.

"It was easy to relay what was happening back then, and what’s happening now. We have two or three still there from 2003 and naturally you would compare them. But it’s a whole new set-up.

"The hurling has kind of changed, and a lot of those guys would have been only been 10 or 12-years-old when that happened in 2003. They wouldn’t really understand, so we’re just trying to focus them on what’s ahead of them."

Image: Cian Lynch. ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Patrickswell has produced fine young players like Cian Lynch over the past two years, and Kirby maintains that Limerick hurling is in rude health.

"Without a doubt. The youth structures have been very good and a lot of our guys would have played underage between 16s, minor and U21. Now there’s a few beginning to play at senior level, which can only be good for our club. The structures within the county have improved big time.

"I suppose it’s down to the fact that we’ve a lot of good young fellas coming through the club. They’re coming of age now. In our case last year Ciaran [Carey] came in and did a great job with them. They got to the final and unfortunately they lost it. They got to it again this year with a big part of that team."

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