AGAINST considerable odds, Limerick are on course to win a record fifth Munster Senior Hurling Championship on the trot!
It follows yesterday’s pulsating one-point win by John Kiely’s marvels over Cork at a packed and sun-kissed Gaelic Grounds, and, of course, Waterford simultaneously giving the Shannonsiders a totally unexpected passage through to Sunday week’s decider (against Clare) with a shock defeat of Tipperary at Semple Stadium, Thurles.
“Fantastic occasion, it was one of those games that ebbed and flowed,” reflected Kiely in the still scorching heat to the 42.ie after. “Everybody knew what was on the line. We had to win the game. The draw was not going to be enough, and we knew that coming into it. It does bring its own pressures, but I think we responded very well to the pressure.”
He added: “The energy levels this week in training were just through the roof on Tuesday and Friday. And I know that this win has really filled the boys up. Coming off the field, they were absolutely buzzing with having made it through to another Munster final. Another fantastic milestone for the group to qualify for their fifth Munster final. It’s a great privilege to be in a Munster final and we’re thrilled to be there.”
“We had our purple patches where we were strong. Cork had their purple patches where they were strong. They were very efficient. I think we had created more scoring chances, but their efficiency was really very, very high.”
“I can only just salute the resilience and tenacity of our guys to just keep doing the right thing, keep going after it. Lot of questions asked going into the game and Cork obviously brought huge questions as well here today. So very, very proud of the way our lads responded to the whole thing really.”
Patrickswell colossus Diarmaid Byrnes, who bagged a brilliant 1-4 from right-half-back in an overall class performance, deservedly earned the Man-of-the-Match accolade.
Still on the scoring front, Feohanagh’s Séamus Flanagan hit 1-3; Aaron Gillane stroked over five points; Cathal O’Neill hit a goal; Gearóid Hegarty and Darragh O’Donovan grabbed three points apiece and, on the eve of his 27th birthday, Tom Morrissey chipped-in with a couple of beautiful points.
There were also scoring contributions from William O’Donoghue, Peter Casey, Barry Nash, Declan Hannon and Kyle Hayes.
Tipperary have finished third in the provincial championship and advance to the All-Ireland series, while both Cork and Tipperary have exited.