A novel final pairing awaits in the Munster Senior Hurling Final this Sunday as neighbours Limerick and Clare square off for the inaugural Mick Mackey Cup.
This will be just the seventh meeting of the teams in the decider in the 135th year of the Munster championship.
The Thurles encounter will also be the first final contest between the pair since 1995 when Clare dethroned the Treaty men.
That win brought an end to Clare’s 63-year wait for provincial honours as they claimed a comprehensive 1-17 to 0-11 win in this weekend’s venue.
The victory was Clare’s first over Limerick in the Munster final at the sixth attempt. The Ger Loughnane managed side went on to win two more provincial titles over the next three years with their latest triumph coming in 1998.
Limerick will be hopeful of avenging that defeat this weekend and continue a strong record against the Banner on provincial final day. The first meeting of the pair came all the way back 1918 as Limerick claimed a 11-3 to 1-2 win in Thurles. That remains a record number of goals scored the Munster final.
Their next meeting in the decider came in 1955 as Limerick secured a first provincial title in fifteen years at the Banner’s expense with a 2-15 to 2-6 win in the Gaelic Grounds.
Nineteen years later, the reigning All-Ireland and Munster champions Limerick proved too strong for Clare in a 6-14 to 3-9 victory. Limerick maintained that 100% record against their neighbours in 1981, with the four point win the closest contest between the pair in a final up to that date.
The Treaty’s side most recent Munster final triumph against Clare came in 1994 when they inflicted a second successive final loss on the Banner with a 0-25 to 2-10 result in Thurles.
Twelve months later, Clare reversed the trend but were dethroned by Limerick in the 1996 Munster semi-final at the Gaelic Grounds.
Can Clare make it two on the bounce in finals against the Shannonsiders or will Limerick overcome their neighbours once more? We will know all this Sunday.
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