Limerick 1-24 Waterford 0-19
Limerick are the Allianz League Division 1 champions for the first time in 22 years following an eight-point win over Waterford this afternoon.
Aaron Gillane’s 26th-minute goal proved crucial as it came a time when Waterford were enjoying a period of resurgence following a blistering Limerick start.
The goal provided the catalyst for Limerick to finish the half strongly while they managed to hold off the strong Waterford challenge in the second period.
Here are our quickfire conclusions from the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 final.
1. Aerial Dominance – The Waterford backs may have had a height advantage over the Limerick full-forward line but it was the Treaty men who won the aerial battle, Aaron Gillane in particular. On the occasions that he was left inside on his own with only Tadhg de Burca to mark him, the Patrickswell man lorded the sky with quick catches and turns, resulting in points. Gearoid Hegarty also used his height to great effect in the half-forward line.
2. Half-Forward Line Flying – By their standards, the Limerick half-forward line have had an unusually quiet League campaign with many wondering if some of them would be dropped for the championship. However, they provided a timely reminder of their capabilities today, Hegarty and Morrissey in particular. Morrissey was often spotted floating in the half-back line, gathering possession and assisted Gillane for 1-1 while also scoring his own point. Hegarty also found himself on the scoresheet.
3. Waterford Purple Patch – Limerick came flying out of the blocks in this game and for a period, it looked as though they would dominate the game. However, between the 12th and the 22nd minute, they failed to score while they also seriously struggled for possession. The Waterford backs settled into the game, Kevin Moran began drifting all over the field and the half-forward line began winning their own ball. During that ten minute spell, Waterford rattled off four points without reply.
4. Aaron Gillane – If ever a game outlined the importance of Aaron Gillane to Limerick, it was this one. He has seriously matured since last season, from open play he is much more composed while the Patrickswell man is also deadly accurate from frees. At periods when Limerick needed a dig out, it was him linking all the forwards together to create the scores. His goal was a defining moment in the game. Though he missed an uncharacteristic amount of frees in the second half, he more than did his share for the Limerick cause.
— The GAA (@officialgaa) March 31, 2019
5. Over-Reliance On Stephen Bennett – Before the League semi-final against Galway, we questioned Waterford’s reliance on Stephen Bennett as the almost sole provider of their scores. That question appeared to be answered when they had nine scorers in that game but they were back to square one today. Bennett scored seven of their opening 10 points while he was also the only troublesome member of their full forward line.
6. Limerick Remain Cut Above The Rest – Limerick have won the first national silverware of 2019 and it’s not hard to see why they are favourites to win more in August. There were so many individual moments of brilliance from Darragh O’Donovan’s sideline cut to Declan Hannon’s booming point but it was their collective effort that was so impressive. This team is entirely unselfish in their play and despite their constant movement, they always seem to know exactly where the man in the best position is. It wasn’t their best performance by any means but you get a sense that this was only a preview of what we can expect of them come championship.