"This was not a paperwork exercise, he got his bare hands dirty." - Kiely lauded as one of the greats
Like many of the great managers, one thing's clear about John Kiely and that's that he has no airs or graces about himself.
He's not an attention-seeker, it's all about the team - that much is abundantly clear in any interview he does - and with his selfless mindset, he has inspired the greatest hurling team since Kilkenny in the mid 2000s.
John Kiely is a Galbally club-man, he is a Galbally great and in this week's edition of the Limerick GAA notes, Galbally hailed their man with a tremendous tribute. It talks about Kiely's hurling career, it mentions the work he did - the hard work he did - when the club were improving their facilities and it puts him up there with the managerial greats he now walks alongside.
"In the early 1980s, Jack Dillon, Eddie Ryan and a number of others set about getting underage hurling going in Galbally," began the note.
"An under-14 County Hurling Title won in 1986 put Galbally on the hurling map. The captain was John Kiely. Nine years later, he would captain Galbally to win a County Junior B Hurling title. He has seen bigger days since on the hurling field, but those titles sit alongside his Limerick successes in his photograph archive."
"It is probably safe to say that regardless of whatever John Kiely achieves in the game of hurling, he will never again lead a team to win an All Ireland Senior title by 16 points. Significant milestones like that belong in the record books for a reason. They are rare events and precious events.
"The great Brian Cody has won 11 All Ireland titles, but the vast majority of them were won by small enough margins. You do not win All Ireland Finals by 16 points every day. This victory will remain etched in the record books forever more. The emotional homecoming night in Galbally in 2018 will not be replicated due to Covid-19 and that is totally necessary. It would be irresponsible to seek to challenge such restrictions. The health of the nation has to come first.
He's the next Brian Cody! pic.twitter.com/wEDk2JXE8T
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) August 22, 2021
"Nevertheless, to have a Galbally man at the helm is a significantly proud moment for Galbally GAA. On top of training Galbally GAA teams, John Kiely has been Treasurer of Galbally GAA, Secretary of Galbally GAA and perhaps in later life he may complete the trilogy by serving as Chairman of Galbally GAA. A former son of Galbally, the late Pádraig S O’Riain went to the very top of the GAA in the boardroom, and now a current son of Galbally, John Kiely has gone to the very top of the GAA in management.
"In short, John Kiely bleeds Galbally GAA and during the Easter Holidays in 2007, he ran the major drainage project that took place on the GAA field in Galbally. This was not a paperwork exercise, he got his bare hands dirty. He was never someone to shirk a workload or a challenge. There was no greater workload or challenge than taking over Limerick at a very low ebb in late 2016 and moulding them into All Ireland Champions for the first time in 45 years
"His achievements with Limerick speak for themselves. To be compared to other eras and other teams, you must win what they win. You must achieve what they achieved. As a team, Limerick have now equalled what the Limerick team achieved in 1934, 1936 and 1940. They have surpassed the Clare team of the 1990s, the Offaly team of the 1990s, the Kilkenny team of the 1990s and other teams who have won two All Irelands within the same era. By moving onto three All Ireland titles, John Kiely surpasses the two time All Ireland achievements of luminaries such as Ger Loughnane, Babs Keating, Ollie Walsh, Liam Sheedy and others."
Indeed, the speech he gave after winning the 1995 Limerick Junior B hurling final captures the kind of man that John Kiely is.