John Kiely knows that it’s do or die against Waterford at Walsh Park on Sunday, 2 June.

The All-Ireland champions have a fortnight off to reflect on their damaging seven-point Munster round-robin defeat to Cork at home in the Gaelic Grounds.

In front of a big home crowd they fell flat as the Rebels got their own stuttering provincial campaign back into gear and now it’s all on the line.

Kiely says that four points from their remaining three games, played in a frenetic 15-day period, won’t be enough. It will have to be two wins and a draw at the very least, starting away to a Waterford side badly in need of their own jump start.

"I’m not really too focused on what Cork did or didn’t do at the moment; I’m more concerned about our own lads and what we didn’t do and what we need to do," he said, speaking to RTÉ Sport.

"We will analyse the game in the next few days and it will be interesting to see where the pressure points came from. We have to address those and I think the biggest one is the energy levels in the second half weren’t there.

"Whatever we need to do to make sure they’re there when we go down to Walsh Park has to be done.

"The players know the story - a below par performance and we need to respond to it," he explained. "The next chance we have to respond to it is in Walsh Park in two weeks’ time. 

"We were just that little bit off today, our first touch wasn’t what it normally is, our fluency wasn’t there, and, most importantly, our work-rate wasn’t there."

Action from the Gaelic Grounds

He continued: "We allowed Cork too much time on the ball too much of the time and I think you could see midway through that second half that Cork had the momentum with them and it was going to be very difficult for us to turn it around.

"We tried valiantly, we created a few goal-scoring chances which we didn’t convert and we needed to convert every chance we got today in order to survive. Listen, bottom line - Cork were the better team today and they won the match."

Limerick floated through the Allianz League, winning the Division 1 title for the first time in 22 years. Their only defeat of the competition, in fact, came against Cork.

The flash and dazzle, the work-rate, the slick hands and snappy passing wasn’t there for their championships opener however.

Kiely said: "There is no major box that hasn’t been ticked on the way here and we’ve worked very, very hard, but clearly not hard enough.

"We have to regroup, but I know these guys will because they’re full of the right stuff. I know it’s there.

"Teams will have a dip in their performance, of course they will, we got our dip today and we need to make sure that dip is just a temporary one and act we respond the next day with a really good performance because it will take a really good performance to go down to Walsh Park and get a result."