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.
Today it is a look back on a watershed victory from 2018 as a youthful Limerick side picked up their biggest win to date.
Limerick 0-27 : 1-22 Kilkenny
All-Ireland Quarter Final | 15 July 2018 in Semple Stadium in Thurles
John Kiely’s Limerick picked up a first win over Kilkenny in 45-years after an absorbing clash in the All-Ireland quarter-final in Thurles.
With their previous win over the Cats coming in the 1973 All-Ireland final, Limerick bridged the gap with a heroic late comeback, topped off by a superb Tom Morrissey solo effort.
After a comfortable win over Carlow in the preliminary stages, Limerick looked edgy early on as Kilkenny raced into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead with late substitute Richie Hogan settling into the pace of the game.
Aaron Gillane had a glorious chance to level, fetching superbly over his man but losing the hurley in the process as his kicked effort sailed over the bar.
Hogan added two more as Kilkenny moved 0-7 to 0-3 clear. But Limerick started to settle as scores poured in from all over the field.
Declan Hannon chipped in with a beauty as Aaron Gillane levelled at 0-8 apiece. Kilkenny had the next score from TJ Reid but Kyle Hayes replied with his second.
Limerick then hit four on the trot with Gearoid Hegarty, Seamus Flanagan, Graeme Mulcahy and Darragh O’Donovan all finding the target.
That was enough for a 0-15 to 0-12 advantage at the break.
Limerick were four clear when Gillane should have put the game to bed but Eoin Murphy, who made a number of point blank saves, had the pick of the bunch, stopping a stunning shot to the top corner.
And Kilkenny replied to move within one point on 53 minutes. Substitute Richie Leahy was sensational on his introduction, picking off four scores as Kilkenny retook the lead.
But Peter Casey and Shane Dowling offered a similar impact off the bench for Limerick, adding three between them to push Limerick 0-22 to 0-19 ahead following a superb sideline from O’Donovan.
It was another sub to make the next telling impact, John Donnelly, reducing arrears before setting up Hogan for the games only goal that had Kilkenny in front by two.
Straight from the puckout Morrissey leapt highest before firing over as Limerick retook the lead with four to play.
Leahy levelled up a minute later as the game entered injury time.
With both teams guilty of errors, it was Morrissey who stood up and was counted with an incredible solo effort that saw him collect the sliotar well inside his own half before taking off on a run and firing over from the sideline.
Aaron Gillane added the insurance score to cap off an extraordinary game.
In the wake of the result, Kevin O’Brien from the 42 described the game as follows,
“When we look back on it in years to come, this may go down as the defining victory for John Kiely’s young Limerick side.”
The history books certainly concur with the statement.
Scorers for Limerick : Aaron Gillane 0-5 (2f), Tom Morrissey 0-4, Kyle Hayes, Graeme Mulcahy, D O’Donnovan (1sl), Gearoid Hegarty 0-3 each, Peter Casey 0-2 , Seamus Flanagan, Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon, Shane Dowling 0-1 each
Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid 0-7 (5f, 65′), Richie Hogan 1-3, Richie Leahy 0-4, James Maher 0-3, Colin Fennelly 0-2, Conor Fogarty, Liam Blanchfield, John Donnelly 0-1 each.
Limerick: Nicky Quaid; Sean Finn, Mike Casey, Richie English; Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon, Dan Morrissey; Darragh O’Donovan, Cian Lynch; Gearoid Hegarty, Kyle Hayes, Tom Morrissey; Aaron Gillane, Seamus Flanagan, Graeme Mulcahy.
Subs: Peter Casey for Flanagan (59), Shane Dowling for Hegarty (59), William O’Donoghue for O’Donovan (63)
Kilkenny: Eoin Murphy; Paul Murphy, Padraig Walsh, Paddy Deegan; Joey Holden, Cillian Buckley (c), Robert Lennon; Conor Fogarty, James Maher; Martin Keoghan, Richie Hogan, Pat Lyng; Billy Ryan, Colin Fennelly, TJ Reid.
Subs: Liam Blanchfield for Lyng (35), Richie Leahy for Keoghan (45), John Donnelly for Fennelly (62), Ger Aylward for Ryan (72)
Referee: James McGrath