It’s almost been a week since Limerick added the Munster Championship to the list of current titles they hold.
The 2-26 to 2-13 victory over Tipperary in the Gaelic Grounds was as clear a statement from defending All-Ireland champions as you are likely to see.
The manner of the victory has seen Limerick reinstalled as favourites to regain the All-Ireland championship.
With an All-Ireland semi-final in four weeks to look forward to, we look back on the main talking points to emerge from the game.
Peter Casey comes of age
In his debut season with the senior inter-county hurlers in 2017, Na Piarsaigh’s Peter Casey would start both of Limerick’s championship games that summer.
0-3 from play in the All-Ireland qualifier defeat to Kilkenny in Nowlan Park looked to have nailed down a starting berth for Casey heading into 2018.
However, Na Piarsaigh’s advancement to the All-Ireland club final in March and niggling injuries saw Casey’s time with Kiely’s squad limited.
As a result, others were given the chance to impress with Seamus Flanagan an ever-present in the Limerick full-forward line as Casey was reserved to an impact substitution role.
Having played his part coming off the bench throughout the All-Ireland series, 2019 gave him the chance to link up with the squad early with Na Piarsaigh losing the Munster Final in November.
For the opening championship game of the 2019 Munster championship, Casey’s inclusion would be the sole change from the team that defeated Galway in the All-Ireland final.
For each of the following Munster championship games Casey would retain his place at top of the left.
However, truth be told, he couldn’t find the form that he displayed in 2018 as Limerick fell to two defeats.
Yet, with John Kiely’s trust in him clear, Casey would put in an exhibition in the Gaelic Grounds last Sunday, putting Tipp to the sword, notching 1-5 from play on the day.
With Aaron Gillane bottled up well by Brendan Maher at full-back, Casey took the scoring duties upon himself and delivered when needed most.
His return to form will be a welcome for Kiely with Limerick over reliant on Gillane in the round-robin stage of the championship.
Barring injury, Peter Casey will get his first championship start at Headquarters on July 27
Response to setbacks
After learning their lessons in Thurles, a fortnight previously, there was no bedding in period for either side as the game started in rip-roaring fashion.
Seven minutes into the game, Peter Casey nudged Limerick 0-3 to 0-2 ahead.
Tipperary’s response was emphatic and ten minutes later they had the lead with the score at 1-6 to 0-4 in their favour.
Limerick’s rally was equally decisive as Peter Casey’s goal on 25 minutes had the sides level.
In the 45th minute John McGrath goaled for Tipp to bring the sides level at 1-13 to 2-10 with the game in the melting point.
Or so it seemed.
Kyle Hayes’ goal ten minutes after McGrath had effectively ended the game as a contest with Limerick’s lead out to nine.
While they struggled after falling behind against Cork and Tipperary in the round-robin stage, Limerick displayed a steel, that was so often on display last year, once more in the Gaelic Grounds.
Limerick must learn from 2013
The last time Limerick won the Munster championship was 2013 when they defeated Cork in the Gaelic Grounds to secure a first provincial title in seventeen years.
There next outing was against Clare in the All-Ireland semi-final where they were simply overwhelmed by Davy Fitz’s troops.
That manner of that defeat stuck within Limerick circles for a long time as Limerick couldn’t handle the expectations of a rampant home support.
This time around Limerick must learn from this lesson.
To be fair, this Limerick team is unlike any we have seen in recent years.
Yes, their skill levels and fitness are unrivalled in the country but it’s their mindset that sets them apart.
Akin to the current Dublin footballers, their mentality is laser focused.
There is a process to what they do, and they stick to the process, trusting that the outcome will follow.
This team can take solace in the fact that they have played (and won) at Croke Park numerous times and having secured an All-Ireland championship last year, pressure on the team has eased slightly.
Yet, a four-week break from competitive hurling in the summer is an unknown to Kiely and his squad and how they handle this break will determine if they will hurl in August for the second consecutive year.