“It’s a really special thing we have” | Limerick legend Paul Browne on the “incredible” Munster Hurling Championship

There has been so much riveting action in the championship this year, and Browne, who represented Limerick for over ten years, highlighted this.

Ahead of Sunday’s final between neighbours Limerick and Clare, former Treaty hurler Paul Browne thinks “we need to appreciate” the Munster Senior Hurling Championship more. Speaking on EP235 of the Treaty Talk Podcast, the Bruff man is a massive advocate for the provincial championship and it’s flagship competition.

Already this season, we have seen so many fantastic games and storylines emerge, including Limerick losing their 17 game unbeaten streak to Clare, and being on the brink of expulsion from the championship, to somehow managing to qualify for the Munster final. Even Waterford, who had been without a win all year, managed to have a big say in how the championship would pan out, with their shock win over Tipperary meaning John Kiely’s side made it to a fifth consecutive Munster decider.

There has been so much riveting action in the championship this year, and Browne, who represented Limerick for over ten years, highlighted this.

“Hurling in general is great, we need to appreciate it. We don’t appreciate how special the Munster championship is. Everyone says but really take a step back, it’s a really really special thing we have, it’s just an incredible thing to be involved in as a supporter or as a player.”

Limerick Senior Hurling Media Event, Castletroy, Limerick 8/8/2018 Paul Browne Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

While the championship has no doubt been entertaining, it has been a gruelling six weeks for the players, and Browne feels the winner of the Munster final will relish the prospect of a longer break from action.

Limerick and Clare head into the game having both played four tough, physical games over the last two months. In recent years, the break until the All-Ireland semi-final may have been seen as a negative, as other sides had more games to fine tune and prepare, but given the nature of this year’s championship, Browne feels the loser of the final may be in trouble.

“The team who loses the Munster could be in a bit of bother, they would want to have their recovery done going into that quarter final, they will be set up for the fall. You could have to pick yourself up again and face into a team who has had a few games. The team who wins Munster final will be delighted with the break.”

Limerick had not been expecting to meet Clare in the final, but the shock result in Thurles meant the Treaty qualified against all odds.

This may present some sort of physical blow for Clare, who Browne says will have been “99% certain” they were facing Tipperary in the final with the Premier needing only to avoid defeat against a Waterford side who had already been eliminated.

“They (Clare) probably were expecting if they met Limerick again it would be way down the line, they were probably preparing for Tipp. From a mental perspective, being 99% certain they were playing one team and having to switch to another team is a tough task. Regardless of how good you are, it probably is a difficult position to be in to switch it around in the space of a couple days and know you’re facing Limerick again.”

As the sides prepare to face off for an eighth ever provincial final against one another, both sides will fancy their chances in a repeat of last year’s decider that Limerick needed extra-time to get over the line in.

Judging from Browne’s comments, the winners will be in pole position for the All-Ireland championship while the losers will have little time to recover from the physical and mental strain of defeat.

In a championship full of drama and excitement so far, that trend is certain to continue when the sides lock horns in the TUS Gaelic Grounds on June 11.

May the better county emerge on top.

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