Limerick secure legendary status with masterful second half performance

Limerick secure legendary status with masterful second half performance

Limerick have won their fourth All Ireland Final in a row in extraordinary style.

Limerick are All Ireland champions once again after an extraordinary encounter with Kilkenny at a sold out Croke Park.

The elite county team of their generation added yet another legendary chapter to their legacy with an incredible 0-30 to 2-15 dismantling of Derek Lyng’s side.

It was never going to be easy for John Kiely’s men in Dublin but the intensity, intelligence and execution of Kilkenny made for an even more absorbing contest than anticipated.

The Treaty men started slow and the Cats were purring midway through the first half when captain Eoin Cody finished excellently into the bottom right-corner of Nicky Quaid’s net.

Limerick kept within touching distance but struggled to get into full swing as Kilkenny’s midfield physicality and defensive persistence slowed Kiely’s team of superstars.

Outstanding Limerick overcome Kilkenny.

It took a second Kilkenny goal for Limerick to truly transform into their sensational best, however.

Shortly into the second half, Kilkenny’s Paddy Deegan galloped down the left-flank and drilled his shot with enough ferocity to break the Limerick net.

A second or two passed before it became obvious that Kilkenny had scored their second goal of the match – and that was enough time for Limerick hearts to stir up a response.

The next ten minutes saw Limerick at their very best. Casey, Morrissey, Byrnes all excellent.

From five points adrift, Limerick pulled themselves level 2-10 to 0-16 in the 47th minute. Simmering, bubbling and threatening to explode.

Then the Croke Park cauldron rose to its full potential. The atmosphere we imagine when we think of that unique arena on All Ireland Sunday.

And by god, were the two sets of players gladiators befitting of the stage.


Stuff of legend.

Diarmuid Byrnes stepped up in the 52nd minute to exemplify why Ireland is blessed to have hurling – and hurlers. Hurlers who have world class skill in a one country sport.

An extraordinary strike from well inside his own half soared between the posts to a chorus of 82,000 gasps; adding energy to Limerick’s purple patch and adding a sprinkle of class to the occasion.

Not done there either. Minutes later Byrnes extended Limerick’s advantage to four points. The Cats were going to need to claw it back in the final fifteen minutes.

But against fifteen lions that was no easy feat.

The big names – charged by supreme conditioning, match-winning experience and unbreakable desire – broke free.

Hegarty, Lynch, Gillane: Caught up in the claustrophobic fog of the first half emerged from the chaos and ripped away in the championship minutes, leading their county towards title-clinching sunshine.

Performance levels mirroring the rising stakes, those staples of Limerick’s golden generation only added to their legend when they were needed the most.

In the end, it was a nine point victory for the men in green. Kilkenny were tactically supreme, every cell of their bodies invested in every collision.

By any metric they were excellent, but this Limerick team are operating on an entirely different plain.