Opinion – Game Over, Ball Burst

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Limerick v Clare - Allianz Hurling League Division 1B FinalI’M worried. It doesn’t happen often, but I am. This weekend’s All Ireland semi final clash between Limerick and Clare is going to be special. My worry is, that Limerick supporters believe it is going to be easy too.
Clare enter the game as slight underdogs. The bookies, who are rarely wrong, have Limerick as one point favourites. Why then do some Limerick fans believe it is only a matter of turning up?
We all know the Limerick team are not going to be complacent, but the fact of the matter is, the Limerick support need to be grounded too. Looking at the facts, Limerick may have beaten Clare 35 times to 16 out of 52 in the championship since 1887, but if you take that statistic from 1991 to 2013, the wins split is 5 to 4. Go one further. From 2000 to 2013, Limerick and Clare are even at two wins each. See a trend here?
The release of two Limerick hurling songs this week shows that the eye of the supporter is not on the ball. Clare, having played four games already, are going to be up for this game like never before. As will their supporters.
Limerick go into the game as Munster champions and rightfully so, but the fact remains, Limerick have not won an All Ireland in 40 years. The supporters in green and white are entitled to get excited, but not carried away. There is going to be 70 minutes of intensity and passion on Sunday. It more than likely will come down to the puck of a ball. This weekend is by no means a formality. Talk of All Ireland finals and ending 40 year waits will have to do just that. Wait.
I might be judged as being grumpy here or a grinch. The fact of the matter though is that Clare fans will have several sticks to beat us with next Monday 19 morning should they win. There is no doubt in my mind that the two ‘supporters’ songs that have been released will be on Davy Fitzgerald’s playlist for the dressing room. Limerick may be a hurling mad county, but it’s winning pedigree does not back that up. They might have the best fans in the world, but as the Ireland soccer fans know, there are no kudos in that. Here’s to a great game and hopefully, a humility filled win for Limerick.