WE continue our review of the top ten performances of John Kiely’s 30 games in charge of Limerick hurlers with the 2020 All-Ireland final played in December behind closed doors.
Neither Covid nor a resurgent Waterford could stop Limerick reclaiming the title with a powerhouse performance.
Limerick 0-30 : 0-19 Waterford
All-Ireland Final | 13 December 2020 in Croke Park in Dublin
Just twelve days removed from Christmas, in an an eerily empty Croke Park, Limerick brought down the curtain on an unforgettable 2020 campaign as they claimed the All-Ireland title in style with a comprehensive 0-30 to 0-19 win over Waterford.
Kiely’s charges returned to the summit of the hurling landscape for the second time in three years with their best performance to date under the Galbally native as they saw off the Waterford challenge with relative ease.
After a close encounter int he Munster final a month previous, there was great expectations surrounding the game, especially considering the Deise’s display in beating Kilkenny in the semi-finals.
And while Limerick got off to a flying start with scores from Tom Morrissey and Seamus Flanagan inside three minutes, Waterford replied with two of their own to draw level.
Yet, Limerick were finding their scores easier to come by as Morrissey fired over with Aaron Gillane following with a pair.
It could have been worse for the Deise were it not for the exploits of Stephen O’Keeffe who made a brilliant double save to stop Cian Lynch and Kyle Hayes.
They then exchanged the next four scores, Will O’Donoghue and Declan Hannon finding the target with Limerick 0-8 to 0-4 to the good at the first water break.
Gearoid Heagarty got the first in his man of the match display on the restart with Hayes also grabbing his first shortly after.
Austin Gleeson replied for Waterford, as did Kieran Bennett with his brother Stephen making it a three point game.
Morrissey hit back with his third before feeding Gillane as Limerick pushed 0-12 to 0-8 ahead after the half hour.
Limerick then went six clear with Hegarty finding the target approaching the half time whistle. Three on the trot had the Deise within touching distance at the half as it read 0-14 to 0-11 in Limerick’s favour.
Limerick’s reply to Waterford’s flurry was one of their own to start the second half as Morrissey, Gillane and Flanagan added to their respective tallies.
Hegarty’s onslaught continued as he hit two on the trot to move to five from play as he furthered his Hurler of the Year case.
Kevin Moran and Morrissey traded scores with Limerick leading 0-20 to 0-14 at the three-quarter hour mark.
Hegarty moved to six on the day as Gillane’s latest had it 0-24 to 0-16 at the final waterbreak.
To their credit Waterford tried to rally and Nickie Quaid had to be alert to stop Jack Fagan. But Limerick kept their distance as Hegarty’s seventh crowned an otherwordly performance.
Diarmaid Byrnes made it a ten-point game before Morrissey rounded out the scoring, the Ahane man himself making a case for man of the match with his fifth.
At the final whistle, the Limerick players duly celebrated as not only did they reclaim their title, but they did so with a performance for the ages despite no one in attendance.
Scorers for Limerick : Aaron Gillane 0-10 (6f), Gearoid Hegarty 0-7, Tom Morrissey 0-5, Seamus Flanagan 0-3, William O’Donoghue, Declan Hannon, Kyle Hayes, Pat Ryan, Diarmaid Byrnes 0-1 each.
Scorers for Waterford : Stephen Bennett 0-10 (9f), Austin Gleeson 0-5 (1 sideline cut, 1f), Kieran Bennett, Dessie Hutchinson, Kevin Moran, Calum Lyons 0-1 each.
Limerick : Nickie Quaid; Sean Finn, Dan Morrissey, Barry Nash; Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon, Kyle Hayes; Darragh O’Donovan, William O’Donoghue; Gearoid Hegarty, Cian Lynch, Tom Morrissey; Aaron Gillane, Seamus Flanagan, Graeme Mulcahy
Subs : Peter Casey for Mulcahy (49), David Reidy for O’Donovan (59), Pat Ryan for Flanagan (63), Adrian Breen for Gillane (69), Paddy O’Loughlin for Hayes (71).
Waterford : Stephen O’Keeffe; Ian Kenny, Conor Prunty, Shane McNulty; Calum Lyons, Tadhg de Búrca, Kevin Moran; Jamie Barron, Kieran Bennett; Neill Montgomery, Jack Prendergast, Jack Fagan; Dessie Hutchinson, Austin Gleeson, Stephen Bennett.
Subs: Iarlaith Daly for De Burca (21), Darragh Lyons for K Bennett (40), Conor Gleeson for Montgomery (44), Patrick Curran for Moran (52), Shane Fives for Kenny (55).
Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)
The post Kiely’s Top 10 | #3 | Awesome Limerick reclaim All-Ireland throne in unique 2020 final appeared first on Sporting Limerick.