Minor victory shows that the future is bright

While John Kiely’s seniors took a lot of the attention on the day, Diarmuid Mullins’ Limerick minor team secured the county’s first Munster minor title since 2014 when they had six points to spare against Clare in the day’s curtain raiser.

After losing finals in 2015, 2016 and 2018, Mullins was happy to see his side come away with the spoils in an assured performance.

“I’m delighted. We didn’t play very well at the start of the game, but we came back well and I think we deserved to win.

“Over the five games in the Munster Championship I think we were the best team and we deserved to win.”

Electric Ireland Munster Minor Hurling Championship Final, LIT Gaelic Grounds, Limerick 30/6/2019 Clare vs Limerick Limerick manager Diarmuid Mullins Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Limerick were victors when these sides met in the Gaelic Grounds three weeks ago, but looked nervy at the start hitting a number of wides as Clare gained the upper hand.

Once Limerick got a foothold, however, they pushed on and were two points to the good at the half. Limerick’s lead was at four with 15 minutes remaining before Clare struck the opening goal of the game.

Limerick demonstrated huge character and from Jack Franklin’s subsequent puck out, the side fashioned a goal chance which Patrick O’Donovan flicked to the net.

Electric Ireland Munster Minor Hurling Championship Final, LIT Gaelic Grounds, Limerick 30/6/2019 Clare vs Limerick Limerick’s Patrick O’Donovan scores a goal despite Oisin O’Donnell, Tony Butler and Cian Galvin of Clare Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

From there, Mullins’ charges sauntered to victory, something the manager was clearly impressed with. “It showed great character that we came back and got a goal right after it.”

Limerick’s senior win signalled a first minor and senior double since 2013 when both Limerick sides were knocked out of the championship in the All-Ireland semi-finals.

The team will have to wait for their All-Ireland semi final opponents like their senior counterparts which will give the side time to celebrate such a deserving victory.

For Mullins, the chance to celebrate is of the utmost importance with too much emphasis on refocusing straight after a victory.

“And now we have to enjoy this which is important. I think sometimes people want to move onto the next game too quickly.

“We are going to enjoy this and we are going to move on into the next competition.”

While the senior championship was held up last year such was John Kiely’s sides success, Mullins feels there is no such need for that at minor level and is hoping that his players get a chance to go back to their clubs for a period before they step up preparation for the All-Ireland last-four tie.

Electric Ireland Munster Minor Hurling Championship Final, LIT Gaelic Grounds, Limerick 30/6/2019 Clare vs Limerick The Limerick team Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

“It will be really important for our lads to go back to their clubs and play some rounds of the minor championship.

“The minor championship shouldn’t be held up just because the county team are going well. We want our lads back at their clubs for the next few weeks and then we’ll prepare again. A great day all round.”

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