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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Pat Nolan

Limerick to give Declan Hannon 'full length of time' to prove fitness for All-Ireland final against Kilkenny

Limerick will take a step-by-step approach to Declan Hannon’s availability for the All-Ireland final, manager John Kiely has said.

Having featured in 53 out of 54 Championship games for Limerick since making his debut back in 2011, the team captain was forced to sit out last Saturday’s All-Ireland semi-final win over Galway with a knee injury picked up in the Munster final against Clare.

Following the Galway game, Kiely sounded an optimistic note around the 30-year-old’s chances of featuring in Sunday week’s final though cautioned at a press event last night that there are certain markers that he will have to meet over the next 10 days or so.

“Obviously with a player like Declan we’re going to give him every chance but this week will give us an insight to where he’s at,” Kiely explained.

“I know there’s work that he’s going to go doing Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday so we just have to see does he incrementally move through those, if you like, expectations or milestones.

“We can only take one at a time, see how it goes, because a setback is a setback but we’ll just give him a chance but Declan is so experienced, like, we can afford to give him the time.

“We can literally afford to take the full length of time to leave it happen because we don’t have to worry about him in terms of his preparation because he’s so experienced but, at the same time, you want to have a fully fit panel of 26 players available on the day.”

Limerick's Declan Hannon and manager John Kiely celebrate with the Liam MacCarthy (©INPHO/Ryan Byrne)

Meanwhile, Kiely expressed strong support for the lot of female inter-county players in light of recent protests at the lack of a basic players’ charter, which they want to see implemented in 2024 regardless of whether the integration process between the GAA, LGFA and CA has been completed or not.

Kiely said that female players “are dead right to be looking for standards that I would consider to be the basic standards”.

He added: “If we want to have elite athletes that are going to inspire younger athletes to take up the game and enjoy the game and play it, well then we have to resource it and the Government has to support that cultural institution which is in every single parish across our country.

“Of course they should and they are but they have to probably go a bit further with it because ladies' sport has grown and is growing faster than any other sport.

“I have two girls at home and I see the amount of hurleys they go through and the amount of kit they go through and the boots they go through and I'm delighted because it's phenomenal...

“I'm delighted that they're interested and that they play but I want to think that they would have every opportunity in the future were they to be able to make it onto an elite camogie team or ladies football team that they would be resourced properly and treated well, and their health looked after while they're doing so. So those aspirations have to be real.

“And if those girls, who are very smart at 10, 11, 12 years of age, don't see ladies' sport being resourced in the right way, well then there's only going to be one outcome.

“They're not going to aspire to want to be part of that. So every boy, every girl should have an equal opportunity to aspire to play at elite level.”

But Kiely said that he would not tolerate it if his county board was to suggest cutbacks to his regime in order to allow for a greater distribution to their female counterparts.

“Why would you possibly have to say, ‘Right, ok, we want to resource the boys and girls in the same way - that means now we're going to have to resource the boys in a lesser way’.

“We're already saying that this is the standard. Why would you drop your standards just so that you can broaden a lower standard? No, you have a different kind of discussion. You say, ‘How can we drive the standards across the board?’”

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