Limerick lift their game to another level in battering hapless Kilkenny

Inside Track with John McIntyre

HAS an All-Ireland senior hurling title ever been harder earned? That might seem an odd conclusion after a team wins both the semi-final and final by nine points, but Limerick were taken to the brink several times during an epic campaign and had to display all the qualities of champions to be still standing.

In joining the Cork team of the early forties and those mighty Kilkenny hurlers from the 2006 to ’09 era, Limerick’s completion of the four-in-a-row at Croke Park on Sunday is testament to the quality and durability of an exceptional outfit who seem to find an extra gear when hitting Croke Park.

They could have gone in Munster. They only edged out Waterford, lost to Clare, drew with Tipperary and had just a point to spare over Cork on their way to capturing a fifth consecutive provincial title. Even in that match at the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick were fortunate that Clare were denied the opportunity of an equalising free.

It appeared the wear and tear of the past six seasons was catching up them and with injuries to key defenders Seán Finn and Declan Hannon ruling them out of the All-Ireland campaign, Limerick were looking vulnerable. Yet here we are just a few weeks later, hailing possibly the greatest hurling team of all-time.

Again, a huge third quarter surge buried Kilkenny under a green tidal wave. Like the Galway semi-final, Limerick were struggling for cohesion in the opening half, once more found themselves six points behind and yet went on to win pulling up. Their scoring efficiency on Sunday was simply astounding and some of Limerick’s points were out of this world.

Having outscored Galway by 1-18 to 0-6 from the 25th minute the previous fortnight, Limerick repeated the trick against Kilkenny. Trailing by 1-9 to 0-9 at the break, the Shannonsiders completely took over in running up an awesome second tally of 21 points to just 1-6 in reply. Not even Paddy Deegan’s shock goal caused them to blink.

Pictured: Attending the reception to announce details of Bon Secours Hospital sponsorship of the 2023 Senior Football Championship  were Jimmy Newell, Chairperson, St. James’, Pat Burke, Secretary, St. James’, Tommy Kelly, Connacht Council Delegate, and Seamus Burke, St. James’.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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