Limerick v Kilkenny | Repeat Final For Different Looking Teams | 12 Months On

Each side has undergone substantial alterations to their 2022 versions, and it sets the stage for a fascinating match up this weekend.

With the All-Ireland final fast approaching this weekend, both Limerick and Kilkenny have had to adapt a lot this year to get to this stage.

It may be a repeat pairing to decide the Liam MacCarthy but both sides look very different to the teams that took to the Croke Park field 12 months ago.

The path has been the same with identical provincial and semi-final pairings but the route itself couldn’t be more different.

Each side has undergone substantial alterations to their 2022 versions, and it sets the stage for a fascinating match up this weekend.

Form Guide

The sides have already met this year, facing off in the League final back in April, as Limerick cruised to a 2-20 to 0-15 win over the Cats in Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

It was a much changed Limerick side, featuring fringe players such as Colin Coughlan, Barry Murphy and Cathal O’Neill from the start.

The Shannonsiders led for most of the game, never trailing from the moment Barry Nash rose a green flag in the 18th minute. Nash formed part of a defence that restricted the Kilkenny attack to just five points in the second half.

John Kiely’s men won at a canter, and could have actually won by a lot more, hitting 15 wides in the second half, and not scoring at all in the closing 12 minutes.

9 April 2023; Limerick captain Cian Lynch lifts the cup after the Allianz Hurling League Final match between Kilkenny and Limerick at Páirc Ui Chaoimh in Cork. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Following on from the League, both Limerick and Kilkenny have been relatively dominant in their provinces, making it five in a row and four in succession respectively.

Similarly to 2022, Clare and Galway were the defeated finalists in each province, although they put up strong fights to the eventual winners, both losing by just a point.

Like the repeated provincial finals, this year’s All-Ireland semi-final pairings were identical to 2022, but the differences in the sides, quality and personnel wise, has been clear to see. Kilkenny dominated Clare in last year’s semi, but this year they only won by three points, although that may be more down to the Banner’s improvement than anything else.

Conversely, Limerick ended up beating Galway quite comfortably for a finish, quashing any notion that they had regressed considerably. The question marks that have hung over their desire and hunger have been answered, and now their only problem seems to be injuries.


The Shannonsiders lost Sean Finn early in the year to an ACL injury, but have been able to call upon Mike Casey in his absence, who has been phenomenal on his reintroduction.

More recently, the injury of Declan Hannon has caused a stir amon the starting XV, with Kiely forced into a reshuffle. Last time out, the Limerick boss opted to move William O’Donoghue to centre-back, with Cian Lynch brought into midfield.

It will be interesting to see if he continues with this strategy should Hannon miss the final, as Kilkenny are coming with a real powerful presence in midfield in Adrian Mullen.

8 August 2021; Eoin Cadogan of Cork and Adrian Mullen of Kilkenny during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-final match between Kilkenny and Cork at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Mullen has been the main injury concern for the Cats this year, with the star struggling for consistent fitness. He finally returned to the side for the semi-final clash with Clare, and will be hoping to dominate a Limerick midfield potentially missing O’Donoghue having been curtailed somewhat in the 2022 decider.

Mikey Carey, who started last year’s final will miss out through injury with David Blanchfield filling in his absence. However, Blanchfield faces a race to be fit after limping off in the semi-final.

New Faces

While there have positional changes from Limerick this year due to Hannon’s injury, it has also brought about an opening in the half-forward line for David Reidy, who has started each of the past two outings, and even scored 0-3 in the Munster final. Of his 26 appearances for Limerick, only four of Reidy’s have come from the start with half of those coming in the last two games.

Injuries aside, Kiely has opted to give his young talent more game time this year, with Cathal O’Neill, Colin Coughlan, and Adam English all featuring more this term.

O’Neill in particular has been immense, putting in an incredible performance off the bench against Galway whilst starting a pair of Munster championship games. Colin Coughlan and English made their Munster debuts earlier this year whilst the latter also featured in Croke Park against Galway.

Peter Casey also started the All-Ireland semi-final, he didn’t feature in last year’s final following an ACL injury suffered in the 2021 decider.

11 February 2023; Peter Casey of Limerick during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group A match between Limerick and Clare at TUS Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

The Cats have undergone some changes from 2022 too, with Tom Phelan and Blanchfield integrating into the side as well as the reemergence of Conor Fogarty under Derek Lyng. The Kilkenny boss has also had to make alterations to his side, as a result of the persistent injury issues of Adrian Mullen.


Kiely has been at the helm since 2016, and is the longest serving hurling manager in the country. Under his guidance the Shannonsiders have won a remarkable five Munster titles in a row, and are going for their fourth Liam MacCarthy on the bounce this weekend.

His experience and longevity is the opposite of Kilenny boss Lyng, who is in his first season in charge of the Cats. He replaced the iconic Brian Cody, who served 23 years in charge and won 11 All-Ireland titles. Lyng got off to a great start in Leinster, winning the final dramatically against Galway, and will be hoping he can win Liam at the first time of asking too.


The script has well and truly flipped regarding All-Ireland dominance these days, as Limerick go into the game looking for their fourth Liam MacCarthy in a row, a feat only achieved by Kilkenny and Cork, while the Cats haven’t won the cup since 2015.

It is the longest drought Kilkenny have endured since 1992, when they went nine years without All-Ireland glory.

Two sides well used to each other at this stage ahead of a third successive major final, who can deal with the alterations the best may just decide the outcome of the Liam MacCarthy.

GAA coverage on Sporting Limerick is brought to you in association with Noels Menswear, shop online here or visit in Dooradoyle, Limerick City or Newcastle West.

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