John Kiely said Kyle Hayes can dedicate his performance in Sunday's Munster final to his friend Darren Whelan who tragically died in an accident on the Greek island of Ios earlier this month.
The 23-year-old, who played hurling for Kildimo-Pallaskenry, the same club as Hayes, is being laid to rest on Monday afternoon.
Limerick came back from 10 points down at half-time against Tipperary on Sunday to claim their third consecutive Munster title. Hayes scored a sensational solo goal in the second half to put his side ahead by five.
"Cracking goal, delighted for him," said Limerick manager Kiely.
"He’s had a really tough week. Darren O’Connell as well. Their good friend Darren Whelan passed away tragically last weekend.
"It’s an awful blow to them young lads, and it’s a reminder to us all, the fragility of life. We saw it again this weekend with Monaghan’s [U20] captain Brendan Óg Duffy. What a terrible, terrible tragedy.
"All valuable young men in their families and their communities, making a huge difference to their wider communities. We’re just grateful that we have these young men, all of us in Tipperary and Limerick and Galway and Cork and wherever they are from. We’re very lucky to have them and we’ve to try and mind them.
"Terrible tragedies and desperate losses. It hits these boys tremendously when something like that happens. But, you know, hats off to Kyle. It was difficult for him to do what he did today, and at times he found it hard outside there on the pitch.
"But like everything Kyle does, he gives it his all. There’s no reverse. It’s only going forward with Kyle Hayes. That’s the bottom line and I hope that’s the way he’ll continue to be. And he can dedicate that performance to his great friend."
Kiely said the performance from his side between half-time and the second water break was as good as he's seen.
"That first half performance was abysmal, but we managed to turn it around," he said.
"It's a great reference point for us going forward, if we do end up in a difficult situation again; we have that capacity within ourselves to dig deep.
"I think that was the difference in the second half. We played as a real team. Every player played for the player beside him, in front of him, or behind him - whereas in the first half, we didn't do that.
"The third quarter performance was our strongest quarter in five years. It needed to be, it had to be. It was up there with our best 16 or 17 minutes of hurling.
"They had to stand up. We were extremely disappointed with our first half performance. We left ourselves down in many aspects of the game that we pride ourselves on, particularly our work rate. It wasn't there in the first half, and we won't get away with that in the future."
Incredible run up the field finished in an unstoppable GOAL from Kyle Hayes for @LimerickCLG v @TipperaryGAA in the Munster Senior Hurling Championship Final #GAANOW pic.twitter.com/fDLewPxCVK
— The GAA (@officialgaa) July 18, 2021