Limerick seek historic Munster six-in-a-row

A flashback to William O'Donoghue taking on Clare’s Peter Duggan of Clare during last year’s Munster Final clash. Photo: Eóin Noonan.

THE HISTORIC prospect of a first ever six-in-a-row is on offer to Limerick in Sunday’s glamour Munster Senior Hurling Championship Final against modern-day rivals Clare at a sold-out Semple Stadium in Thurles (4pm).

In the long history of a provincial Championship that dates all the way back to 1888, no county has ever achieved such a feat.

Limerick are also in search of title number 25 at the weekend.

John Kiely’s side arrive centre-stage courtesy of wins over Clare (away), Tipperary (home), and Waterford (home), while the only blemish was the narrow loss away to Cork.

En route to the decider, Brian Lohan’s Clare overcame Cork (away), Waterford (home) and Tipperary (away).

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It’s the third successive clash of the counties in a Final, with Limerick 1-29 to 0-29 winners at Semple Stadium two years ago and by and just a single point at the Gaelic Grounds last Summer.

Kiely said it was a “privilege” to be back in a Munster Final.

“They are special occasions on a sporting calendar, and we’ve worked really hard to earn a place in that final. And we’ll work hard now to give it the performance that it deserves,” said a manager who has worked the oracle with his troops since 2018.

Lohan said it was “another big game from our perspective”.

“They’re going for five All-Irelands and I don’t know how many Munsters they’re going for but it’s a lot anyway.”

Limerick will be without Séamus Flanagan and Peter Casey, and possibly Darragh O’Donovan, from last year’s winning selection. Still very much around, however, are captain Declan Hannon, Mike Casey, Kyle Hayes, Gearóid Hegarty, Cathal O’Neill, Cian Lynch, Tom Morrissey, and Aaron Gillane.

Clare reckon Tony Kelly could start for this first time in the campaign, while other familiar figures will be those of Conor Cleary, John Conlon, David Fitzgerald, Cathal Malone, Peter Duggan, Shane O’Donnell, and Mark Rodgers.

For early arrivals, The High Kings (Finbarr Clancy, Brian Dunphy, Darren Holden, and Paul O’Brien) will entertain from 2.30pm.

The winners will earn a place in the All-Ireland semi-final on the opening weekend of July, while the next date for the runners-up is Saturday June 22 and a contest with either Wexford or the beaten Joe McDonagh Cup Finalists (Laois/Offaly).

Verdict: Another titanic tussle is in prospect, but Limerick are confidently tipped to deliver the Mick Mackey Cup back home to Shannonside, by a margin of three to five points.