Clare legend Jamesie O’Connor believes a side made up of players from all around the country would struggle to beat the current Limerick team.
Limerick put up the highest-ever total score of 3-32 in an All-Ireland hurling final against Cork, in a game that was over as a contest by half-time.
While Cork wouldn’t have been expected to reach the final before the championship began, they deserved to be fighting for the Liam McCarthy Cup on the last day of the championship after impressive wins against the likes of Kilkenny and Clare.
O’Connor was speaking to Sky Sports about the one-sided All-Ireland final and argued that the scoreline is more of a reflection of just how good Limerick are rather than Cork being an unimpressive side.
🗣️"𝙇𝙞𝙢𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙘𝙠'𝙨 𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙩𝙪𝙨 𝙖𝙨 𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙜𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙨𝙩 𝙩𝙚𝙖𝙢𝙨 𝙤𝙛 𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙩𝙞𝙢𝙚 𝙝𝙖𝙨 𝙗𝙚𝙚𝙣 𝙘𝙚𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙞𝙣 𝙨𝙩𝙮𝙡𝙚!"
— Sky Sports GAA (@SkySportsGAA) August 22, 2021
Jamesie O’Connor on Limerick’s brilliance.
“To be fair to Cork, any team in the country, I think even the pick of the rest of the country would have struggled to live with Limerick given the levels they reached,” O’Connor said.
“It’s scary the potential of where that team can go. You get the sense that hunger to go on and win more hasn’t been fully sated. With three in a row to aim for next year, they will be the team everyone has to beat.
“Kiely keeps them grounded. He has that ruthless streak, that sense of stern authoritarian leadership that you need over a bunch of young men.
“He has it, and he has really been the guiding light. Huge credit to him and the backroom team he has assembled.”
John Kiely’s men may dominate hurling for years to come.
Limerick won their third All-Ireland hurling title in four years on Sunday in emphatic fashion and based on the age of star players such as Cian Lynch, Aaron Gillane and Gearoid Hegarty, there may be many more titles to come.
Cork are a young team themselves and can be pleased with the progress they’ve made under Kieran Kingston this year, but if the final was anything to go by they still have a way to go before they can challenge Limerick.
The likes of Kilkenny and Galway, the teams to beat for much of the last decade, have fallen off the pace in recent years, while Tipperary will look to re-establish themselves as hurling giants under a new manager.
Tipperary aren’t the only side in need of a replacement manager, as Davy Fitzgerald also stood down from his role with Wexford following a disappointing year with the Slaneysiders.
Limerick will certainly be the team to beat next year, but it’s hard to see which county is going to be able to step up and really challenge their place as the best side in Ireland.