Limerick, All Ireland Champions 2018

Limerick Captain Declan Hannon RaisesThe Liam McCarthy Cup Photo John Mortell
All ireland hurling final

The clock had ticked into the 79th minute at Croke Park last Sunday when Galway’s Joe Canning stood over the sliothar, eyeing up a long distance free to level the All Ireland Senior Hurling Final. Not long before that, Limerick had been odds-on certainties to win, but the Tribesman roared back in injury time to bring the deficit back to a single point.
Galway and Limerick fans held their breath as he lifted and struck, but the ball fell short, and the scramble that followed resulted in Knockaderry’s Tom Condon getting possession of the ball, and with it the Liam McCarthy Cup for 2018. Galway heads dropped as the referee blew the final whistle, but the roar from the green-clad fans could nearly be heard back on Shannonside. It’s worth saying it again; Limerick are All Ireland champions, and 45 years of waiting and aching have melted away. The class of 2018 and manager John Kiely have been elevated into the pantheon of Limerick sporting greatness, and, after a year in which the team came through what has been described as the greatest hurling championship, they will be feted the length and breadth of Limerick for months to come.
Monday’s homecoming proved just how much this win means to Limerick. An open-top bus trip from the railway station attracted more than 50,000 cheering fans, and there were 40,000 ecstatic supporters in the Gaelic Grounds. Before the team’s arrival, entertainment was provided by local ballad group Clover and then by Bressie and The Blizzards. This was followed by Denis Allen singing ‘Limerick You’re A Lady’, and then Marty Morrissey announced the team’s arrival. Mayor James Collins formally welcomed them home on behalf of the people of Limerick. All the players were then introduced to the crowd, and it was obvious to everyone how much the win meant to them. It was a magnificent occasion, and the crowd joined in with John Kiely when he sang ‘Piano Man’, followed by Shane Dowling who led a raucous rendition of ‘Seán South’. Team captain Declan Hannon gave a rendition of ‘Caledonia’ before giving over the stage to music acts Beoga and Hermitage Green.
On this momentous occasion the Weekly Observer sends congratulations to the entire Limerick panel, from players to management and backroom staff. It has been a wonderful 2018 for the hurling fans on Shannonside, and, given the calibre and dedication of the entire panel, you can say that the future of Limerick hurling is bright. Luimneach Abú!