This Sunday Limerick host Tipperary in the Gaelic Grounds in the 132nd Munster Hurling Final. This will be Limerick’s first Munster final appearance since 2014 when they were defeated by Cork in the old Pairc Ui Chaoimh.
A year previous to that Limerick bridged a 19-year-gap to secure a first Munster Championship Final win in the Gaelic Grounds when they were victorious over the Rebels, 0-24 to 0-15.
Tipperary’s last Munster final appearance came in 2016, also at the Gaelic Grounds where they destroyed Waterford 5-19 to 0-13 before going on to clinch the All-Ireland title against Kilkenny.
These sides last met in the Munster decider in 2001 where Tipperary overcame the Treaty side winning out 2-16 to 1-17. Tipp would win Liam MacCarthy that September.
Limerick’s previous Munster final win against Tipperary came in 1996 when they defeated the Premier county in a replay in Pairc Ui Chaoimh 4-7 to 0-16.
Tipperary enter the final as the form team winning each of their Munster championship games this year, overcoming Limerick 1-22 to 0-21 in the final round of the round-robin series.
Speaking after the game, Limerick manager John Kiely spoke about his sides unique opportunity to rectify the wrongs of their performance in Thurles just two weeks removed from their defeat.
“It’s great to have the opportunity. In sport you don’t often get the chance in two weeks to go back and right the wrongs so its great. We just felt we weren’t on it today.”
In Thurles, Tipperary were well on top for most of the game, matching Limerick physically, restricting the Treaty attack and getting the crucial goal in the game.
Tipperary’s workrate impressed Kiely who acknolegded that his team would need to bring more in the Munster final if they were to avenge the defeat.
“When the team is sharp and everyone is on the tip of their toes, them balls always go to hand. But let’s give credit to Tipp. They put a lot of pressure on our ball retention back there.
At time our hand passing wasn’t as clean as it needs to be and that’s an area we need to work on over the next two weeks.”
“They work really hard. We pride ourselves on our hard work so you have two teams that work extremely hard. They had the better of it today and the challenge is for us to do so the next day, to come back and set out or stall and see if we have more in the tank”
Last year Limerick would go on to win the All-Ireland championship having come through the back door of the competion.
This Sunday however there is a chance for Limerick to move straight into the All-Ireland semi-final should they come out victorious.
After a long summer of hurling last year which was followed by a league campaign that also brough silverware, Kiely’s side has played a huge amount of hurling over the past 18 months and a chance to move straight into the last four is a huge opportunity to earn some well-deserved rest.
“There’s a huge prize at stake, the stakes are high. There’s a place in an All-Ireland semi-final so the stakes are very high. Listen the challenge has been laid at our door, we need to bring more the next day.”