Limerick manager John Kiely feared he would be sacked a year before leading Limerick to their first All-Ireland in 45 years.
For all the success of his second year in charge, he hasn’t forgotten the lessons learned in in his debut senior season, where they endured a quick exit from the Championship, losing to Clare and Kilkenny.
“I’ll be straight with you, I was waiting for the phone call to say: ‘Thanks for everything but we’ve decided to move on. We don’t feel you’re going to be the manager that brings us on’,” he told the audience at CBC’s ‘The Road to Success’ event.
“I was waiting for the phone call and… there was a void of about three months of communication. So I was waiting but at the same time I was at home trying to figure out how can we improve things? How can we get better? How can we have a better season the year after?
As sure as 2018 was a huge success, with confidence flowing from the Munster Hurling League win to league promotion and on to their ultimate triumph, 2017 was the inverse.
His first home game was a seven-goal defeat to Cork in the Munster League and they failed to gain promotion from Division 1B in the subsequent League campaign.
“We would’ve had about 200 people coming to our league matches, and half them probably thinking of castigating me. I got into woeful trouble for chastising two of them. It was difficult, very difficult.”
Don’t miss the Irish Examiner’s Weekend Sport for our big read on the insights from CBC’s ‘The Road to Success’ event with Kiely, John Meyler and Derek McGrath.