2021 Limerick Football Review | More positives for Billy Lee’s men with League improvements and another championship win

A look back on Limerick Football’s 2021.

Another year came to a close for Limerick football at the weekend as Ahane beat St Patricks in the
U21B Football final. That final comes less than three weeks before Limerick begin their 2022 season
as the McGrath Cup returns after a year sabbatical, falling foul of the pandemic, like so much before
it.

New faces will make their presence known in Billy Lee’s side who will be aiming for further progress
following a very successful 2021 campaign. The year began under conspicuous circumstances with all
GAA activities postponed indefinitely as Billy Lee’s side were unable to defend the McGrath Cup and
missed the months normally associated with League action.

But when the side finally returned to competitive action on May 15 they showed little sign of rust as
they beat the then Munster champions Tipperary 1-13 to 0-14 in their first game back in Division 3 of
the league.

29 May 2021; Brian Fanning of Limerick during the Allianz Football League Division 3 South Round 3 match between Wicklow and Limerick at County Grounds in Aughrim, Wicklow. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Offaly stemmed their momentum but a final round victory over Wicklow in Aughrim was arguably
their finest hour to date as an imperious 2-19 to 1-12 victory that sealed their place in the knockout
stages.

Derry proved a bridge too far for the Shannonsiders in the League semi-final with the Oak Leafers
going on to win National League honours.

However the signs of progress were hard to ignore such was the manner of Limerick’s performances
and faced with Waterford in the Munster quarter-final for the second successive year, the
Shannonsiders showcased their newfound attacking flair.

The Deise were hit for four in the Gaelic Grounds as Limerick racked up an eighteen point win over
the visitors.

The Bourke brothers, Hugh and Robbie continued their fine form with first half goals before Iain
Corbett and Cillian Fahy found the net to help Limerick to a third consecutive Munster quarter-final
victory and another semi-final.

26 June 2021; Iain Corbett of Limerick scores his side’s third goal, from a penalty, during the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Limerick and Waterford at LIT Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Paired with Cork in that game in the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick were struck by an early blow as joint-
captain Donal O’Sullivan had to leave the field with injury.
O’Sullivan was injured in the process of Cork scoring a goal, responding to Gordon Brown’s opener
for Limerick.

From here, Cork were able to keep Limerick at bay with the ever electric Danny Neville going closest
for Billy Lee’s men as they couldn’t find the desperately needed goal.
And for the second year running, the Munster semi-final defeat signalled an end to Limerick’s
season.

Reflecting on their exit from the championship, Lee highlighted that the talent is there in Limerick,
but there is still plenty of work to do.

“Ability gets you on the dance floor, it’s strength and conditioning and mental capacity that allows
you to dance”

And therein will lie Limerick’s next step in being able to compete physically with Munster and
potentially Ireland’s elite.

Huge work has been done to get the Shannonsiders to where they are now with Lee’s current five
year tenure proving particularly fruitful.

Lee took charge with Limerick facing into their first season back in the bottom tier. Since then, he
has introduced a number of players who have become the backbone of the current side who will
look to challenge for Division 3 honours in 2022.

Limerick picked up a first Munster championship win in seven years after defeating Tipperary in
2019 and have put successive wins over Waterford in 2020 and ’21 to that.

Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final, Semple Stadium, Co. Tipperary 11/5/2019 Tipperary vs Limerick Limerick’s Paul Maher celebrates with Tommie Childs after the game Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Who knows how far the Treaty outfit could have gone had there been qualifiers over the past two
championships.

But that won’t be a question in the new year for Lee and co with the qualifiers making their return
and the Tailteann Cup its debut.

The former is the optimal route but a lengthy summer will be the ultimate aim for Limerick as
another year of progression could well yield more league success and a coveted Munster final berth.

Not long until the dancing begins again.


Watch the Treaty Talk End of Year Football Special

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