Five-in-a-row chasing Limerick begin Munster Championship campaign in Thurles against Waterford

Limerick’s record over the Deise has been one sided in recent years with the last Waterford win over the Treaty coming back in 2011.

Limerick kick off their Munster Senior Hurling Championship defence this Sunday afternoon as they face Waterford in FBD Semple Stadium at 2pm. The game will be act as a home contest for the Deise with Walsh Park undergoing redevelopment.

And Waterford will be keen on any advantage this Sunday against a side that haven’t been beaten in the province since the final round in 2019. That loss to Tipp was elementary with Limerick qualifying for the final against the Premier where they were comfortable winners.

That kickstarted a run of four successive Munster championship titles with Limerick aiming for a record-equaling five-in-a-row in 2023. Cork are the only other side to achieve the feat, doing it on three different occasions.

In each of the last three seasons, Limerick have added All-Ireland honours to their provincial titles, beating Waterford en route in each of those seasons.

13 December 2020; Limerick captain Declan Hannon lifts the Liam MacCarthy Cup as Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael John Horan looks on following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Limerick and Waterford at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Limerick’s record over the Deise has been one sided in recent years with the last Waterford win over the Treaty coming back in 2011. Since then, Limerick have won each of the six previous championship encounters with an aggregate tally of +66.

The first two years of the round robin system saw Limerick as heavy victors over Waterford, winning by sixteen points in the Gaelic Grounds before a 2-24 to 0-10 win in Walsh Park the following summer.

Limerick beat Waterford in Munster and All-Ireland finals in 2020, the All-Ireland semi-final the following year and in the second round of Munster twelve months ago.

That 2022 meeting was as close as Waterford have got to Limerick since John Kiely’s appointment with just three points between the sides in the TUS Gaelic Grounds. That was the Deise’s first defeat of the season after they had won the National League and beat Tipp in the first round of the MSHC.

However, a pair of defeats in the wake of the Limerick loss saw them eliminated as Limerick went on to win both provincial and All-Ireland titles.

23 April 2022; Cathal O’Neill of Limerick in action against Iarlaith Daly of Waterford during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 2 match between Limerick and Waterford at TUS Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

This time around Limerick will come into the contest as the League champions. In their previous encounter a fortnight ago, Limerick held off Kilkenny for a comfortable 2-20 to 0-14 win in Pairc Ui Chaoimh. That was their sixth successive win following the one point reversal in the same venue in round one.

John Kiely has shuffled the deck once more for Sunday’s championship tie, reverting back to the side that started the 2021 All-Ireland final against Cork. Cian Lynch and Peter Casey come back into the side with Mike Casey and Graeme Mulcahy dropping out from the XV that overcame Kilkenny in last July’s All-Ireland final.

Davy Fitzgerald has also named his first championship side since taking over the Deise. It is a second stint in the job for the Clare native who guided Waterford to the All-Ireland final in 2008.

Limerick are unbackable 1/10 favourites for the game on Sunday and are red hot favourites to win a fifth Munster title in a row. But Waterford are likely to have a plan in place for the all-conquering Shannonsiders.

Whether it will be enough to stop the Limerick juggernaut or not remains to be seen but the wait is nearly over.

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