Limerick surge past Clare in historic six-a-row win

Captain fantastic Declan Hannon lifts the cup high after Limerick's historic six-in-a-row final win. Photo: Kieran Ryan-Benson.

NOT even a power outage, which threatened the cancellation of the fixture but ultimately just delayed the inevitable by half an hour, could prevent Limerick from surging past Clare, 1-26 to 1-20, in Sunday’s Munster Senior Hurling Championship Final at a sold-out (45,158) Semple Stadium, Thurles.

Limerick’s magnificent win heralded the first-ever six in a row provincial championship wins for any county in the ancient history of the competition. Not only that, it came in a packed weekend of historic firsts, as the Treaty went to vote for its first ever directly-elected mayor.

It was also title number 25 for a team that has achieved so much under inspirational manager John Kiely.

The teams were tied on several occasions, including at half time, but the All-Ireland kingpins were clearly the better outfit.

In an interview with RTÉ Sport, Kiely said: “Really tough game, delighted we came out on the right side of it. It might have been our sixth, but it felt like our first.”

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“We controlled it for good spells, and even though we conceded that goal (to Peter Duggan) just before half time and it was a tough pill to swallow and it was poor from us, but, if anything, it just sharpened the axe a small bit for us at half time and I think we got a good start to the second half, which was really important.”

A crucial score was a goal from a powerful 45th minute ground strike by Man of the Match Gearóid Hegarty, whose dad Ger featured on a Limerick side that beat Clare in the Munster Final of 1994 at the same venue.

Limerick now have a four-week break before an All-Ireland semi-final outing at Croke Park.

Limerick: Nickie Quaid (Effin); Mike Casey (Na Piarsaigh), Dan Morrissey (Ahane), Barry Nash (South Liberties); Diarmaid Byrnes 0-5 (Parickswell), Declan Hannon, captain, 0-2 (Adare), Kyle Hayes 0-2 (Kildimo-Pallaskenry); Will O’Donoghue (Na Piarsaigh), Cathal O’Neill 0-1 (Crecora-Manister); Gearóid Hegarty 1-2 (St Patrick’s), David Reidy 0-2 (Dromin-Athlacca), Tom Morrissey 0-4 (Ahane); Aaron Gillane 0-5 (Patrickswell), Shane O’Brien 0-2 (Kilmallock), Cian Lynch 0-1 (Patrickswell).

Substitutes used: Adam English (Doon), Conor Boylan (Na Piarsaigh), Donnacha Ó Dálaigh(Monaleen), Aidan O’Connor (Ballybrown), Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock).