Eventually Limerick did hit top gear, but when they struggled, it was a certain Cian Lynch who was to the fore in helping the Treaty stay in touch.
History will look kindly on Limerick’s All-Ireland final performance of 2023 as they had nine points to spare in defeating Kilkenny.
John Kiely’s men won at a canter, totally dominating the second period to overpower the Cats who had no answers for Limerick’s power plays.
Despite leading by three at the half, Kilkenny looked lost on the resumption as Limerick hit a form that is rarely seen in the biggest days.
What will be remembered was Limerick’s dominance in the final but easily forgotten will be a first half period where the Shannonsiders were the ones playing second fiddle.
Eoin Cody’s tenth minute goal gave them an ascendancy that they held throughout the first period as Limerick couldn’t get into their rhythm.
Eventually they did, but when they struggled, it was a certain Cian Lynch who was to the fore in helping the Treaty stay in touch.
The Patrickswell native was the captain on the day, owing to Declan Hannon’s absence and led by example, contributing a pair of first half scores whilst orchestrating a number of others.
As Limerick found their feet, Lynch’s impact was less noticeable but still crucial. Everything he did was from the top drawer as he deservedly climbed the steps of the Hogan stand to lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup alongside Hannon.
Reserving praise for the captain on the day, John Kiely described the two-time hurler of the year as a “phenomenal player.”
“To play in the semi-final was a huge piece for him. To have the four weeks for the final was massive for him. I think he just stepped up, even in the train this morning, he went over to all the tables, meeting the lads and he just led it. He was very comfortable to lead it and that’s a very special piece for us to have
“I’m thrilled for Cian. I was so happy to see Cian lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup. He’s a really phenomenal player and leader and I was so thrilled to see him up there. And to see Declan up there, it was good.”
Kiely and Lynch is a relationship that stretches back eight years now and has yielded six All-Ireland’s in that time.
Few would bet against them adding to that tally.
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