On This Day | Limerick end 45-year famine to claim All-Ireland Senior Hurling Honours

Limerick ended an All-Ireland famine by dethroning defending champions Galway.

On this day four years ago, Limerick eventually ended their wait for All-Ireland honours as they defeated Galway by a solitary point to claim the Liam MacCarthy.

With their previous success coming 45-year previously, John Kiely’s youthful charges saw off the Tribesmen in a thrilling encounter that ended 3-16 to 2-18 in Croke Park.

Graeme Mulcahy, Tom Morrissey and Shane Dowling bagged the goals as Tom Condon quenched any Galway hopes late on as he caught Joe Canning’s long range free.

In his first year in charge, John Kiely was defeated in both of his championship games but the advent of the round robin allowed Limerick to build up a head of steam in 2018 which was kickstarted by a win over Tipperary in the first round.

A setback against Clare saw Limerick miss out on the Munster final but the Shannonsiders regrouped with a win over Carlow before defeating Kilkenny for the first time since 1973.

This was followed by an epic against Cork where Limerick saw off the Rebels in extra-time to book an All-Ireland final berth for the first time since 2007.

Nonetheless, after All-Ireland final losses in 1974, ’80, ’94, ’96 and ’07, Limerick came into the game as outsiders as they paired up with the defending champions.

Yet, Limerick looked the experienced side in Croke Park on All-Ireland final day, racing into an early 0-3 to 0-1 lead.

Joe Cooney did pull Galway ahead momentarily after a quarter of an hour but Mulcahy was on hand for Limerick’s first green flag which was enough for a 1-10 to 0-9 half time advantage.

GAA All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final, Croke Park, Dublin 19/8/2018 Galway vs Limerick Limerick’s Graeme Mulcahy Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Kyle Hayes burst into life after the restart and three on the bounce was added to by a Morrissey goal which had Limerick eight clear.

Galway fired back but Dowling’s effort reinstated the cushion with just two minutes of normal time remaining.

But eight minutes were added on and Galway found their purple patch with Conor Whelan goaling on 72. Joe Canning then hit the net from a 21-yard free and suddenly Galway were within one.

Mulcahy made it a two point game before Canning replied with a ’65. And the Portumna man was afforded the chance to level with a late free just outside his own ’45.

Canning’s effort didn’t have the legs but dropped dangerously into Limerick’s square, but Condon was the man to emerge from the pile of bodies as James Owens brought the game, and Limerick’s lengthy wait to an end.

19 August 2018; Tom Condon of Limerick catches the sliothar on the last play of the game as the full-time whistle is blown during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Galway and Limerick at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

An outpouring of emotion ripped through Croke Park as the Limerick faithful were serenaded by the Cranberries, paying tribute to the late Dolores O’Riordan.

Declan Hannon then delivered one of the great All-Ireland final speeches with the entirety of the crowd fully focused on the Adare man.

The following night, the side were welcomed back to Colbert Station and walked to the Gaelic Grounds for a memorable homecoming, followed by an equally well attended event in Adare the next evening.

GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Champions Limerick Homecoming, Gaelic Grounds, Limerick 20/8/2018 Limerick captain Declan Hannon with the Liam MacCarthy Cup on stage Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/TommyDickson

In the meantime, Kiely’s men have gone on to unprecedented success, winning three All-Ireland titles on the trot from 2020 to last months final win over Kilkenny.

Hannon made history in the latest as the first man to captain a team to four All-Ireland triumphs.

And the Treaty side show little sign of stopping with many of the team approaching the prime of their careers.

Long may it last but regardless of future endeavours and success, 19 August 2018 will always hold a special place in the heart of the Limerick faithful.

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