There almost a sense of relief to be felt in Croke Park as Limerick saw off a spirited Galway fight-back to clinch a win in a stunning showcase for the sport of hurling.
Limerick coach John Kiely could barely contain his emotion when Declan Hannon hoisted the Liam MacCarthy cup in front of a stadium full of their fans.
And it was understandable. He and his team had just been through an emotional rollercoaster, edging out Galway by the narrowest of margins in a game that well and truly lived up to the standards the outstanding championship that came before it had set.
When the manager came to speak to the media in the game’s aftermath, it was clear that he was feeling the gravity of what he and his team had just achieved in beating the holders.
Speaking to RTE, Kiely had this to say on Limerick’s effort.
“The team has phenomenal belief in its own abilities, in its own resolve; I suppose that never-say-die attitude, you know.
“We worked so, so hard and Galway pushed us all the way in the last 10 or 15 minutes and it was really difficult for the lads to just hold their nerves and find those vital scores but they did. I’m just thrilled for the lads. I’m thrilled for all of Limerick.
“We felt over the last 45 years that we were second class citizens when it came to hurling. We were always the bridesmaids and today we got over the line. I’m just so happy for everyone here in this stadium and at home in Limerick.”
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) August 19, 2018