Our series continues today with a watershed victory for Kiely’s youthful charges in 2018.
With John Kiely reaching 30 championship games in charge of Limerick, it seems fitting to reflect on some of the best that the Shannonsiders have produced under the Galbally native.
Those 30 games have yielded 22 wins at a 73% strike rate. That has also equated to three All-Ireland titles in four years as well as four successive Munster titles.
Limerick completed the four in a row in the province this year which books Limerick’s place in the All-Ireland semi-finals for a fifth successive season.
The defending champions return to action on 3 July and with a four week break, we look back on some of Limerick’s best days under Kiely.
Already we have looked back on some notable omissions as well as a pair of Munster championship games.
#10, #9, #8
Today is the turn of last year’s Munster final where a third quarter blitz saw Limerick hit new heights as they claimed three in a row in the province.
Limerick 2-29 : 3-21 Tipperary
Munster Senior Hurling Final | 18 June 2021 in Pairc Ui Chaoimh
Not Limerick’s best overall performance under John Kiely but their third quarter display is unmatched during his tenure as they gave an exhibition of hurling.
Trailing by ten at the break, Limerick led by two heading into the final quarter, outscoring Tipperary 1-10 to 0-1 in a dazzling 17 minutes.
A lacklustre first half puts the performance at #7, such has been the overall displays off the games ahead of it.
Nonetheless, it was an unforgettable experience see the team hit their peak as they hit Tipp for six in what was in the end a comfortable five point win that sealed three in a row.
In a game of two halves, Tipp certainly dominated the first and put Limerick on notice with a fourth minute goal coming from the stick of Jake Morris.
Seamus Flanagan reduced the arrears for Limerick but Tipp were clinical with their long range shooting as Jason Forde fired over after ten minutes to push them into a 1-5 to 0-4 lead.
The teams continued trading scores in that vein, Limerick working hard while Forde was impeccable from distance, finishing with six from play in the first half alone.
And the Premier had a carbon copy of the first for their second goal, this time John O’Brien applying the finish after a long Barry Hogan puck out, 2-8 to 0-7 in Tipp’s favour.
Tom Morrissey had it back to a six point game with ten to play in the first half, but Liam Sheedy’s men bossed the remainder of the third quarter.
Aaron Gillane was introduced prior to the half but it did little to stem the Tipp tide who shot six of the last eight scores for a commanding 2-16 to 0-12 lead at the break.
What happened after the resumption will live long in the memories of not only the Treaty but those from Tipp as Limerick completely shifted the balance of the contest, taking their levels to another stratosphere.
They rattled off 1-4 inside the first ten minutes of the half, Seamus Flanagan scooping into the net after Gillane’s effort was blocked. Gillane, Diarmaid Byrnes and Tom Morrissey had the points.
Morris stemmed the tide with a point but that was for a fleeting second as Limerick kicked into overdrive. Further points arrived from Gillane, Peter Casey and Morrissey as Limerick incredibly took the lead before the second water break was called.
Kyle Hayes then put the contest to bed with one of the great goals of all time.
His effort had five between the teams but it sucked the life out of an already deflated Tipp who were trying to put out flames all over the field.
Limerick sauntered to the finish line from here, with a Mark Kehoe goal proving little more than a consolation as the Shannonsiders sent out another reminder if needed.
A month later they would repeat the trick on the grandest stage of all.
Scorers for Limerick: Seamus Flanagan 1-3, Aaron Gillane 0-6 (4f), Tom Morrissey 0-6 (1f), Peter Casey 0-5, Diarmaid Byrnes 0-4 (2f, 1 65), Kyle Hayes 1-0, Gearoid Hegarty 0-3, Cian Lynch 0-1, David Reidy 0-1,
Scorers for Tipperary: Jason Forde 0-11 (4f), John O’Dwyer 1-2, Jake Morris 1-2, Mark Kehoe 1-0, Ronan Maher, Seamus Kennedy, Michael Breen, Dan McCormack, Seamus Callanan Willie Connors all 0-1.
Limerick: Nickie Quaid; Sean Finn, Richie English, Barry Nash; Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon, Kyle Hayes; William O’Donoghue, Darragh O’Donovan; Gearoid Hegarty, Cian Lynch, Tom Morrissey; Graeme Mulcahy, Seamus Flanagan, Peter Casey
Subs: Aaron Gillane for Graeme Mulcahy (31), Dan Morrisey for Richie English (31), David Reidy for Darragh O’Donovan ((64), Conor Boylan for Tom Morrissey (67), Pat Ryan for Seamus Flanagan (68), Robbie Hanley for Cian Lynch (70)
Tipperary: Barry Hogan; Cathal Barrett, Padraic Maher, Barry Heffernan; Brendan Maher, Seamus Kennedy, Ronan Maher; Dan McCormack, Alan Flynn; Michael Breen, Noel McGrath, Jake Morris; John O’Dwyer, Seamus Callanan, Jason Forde.
Subs: Willie Connors for Alan Flynn (53), Mark Kehoe for Noel McGrath (55), Niall O’Meara for John O’Dwyer (56), Paddy Cadell for Dan McCormack (56), Brian McGrath for Barry Heffernan (59)
Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow)