Our Reeling in the Years of Limerick GAA continues today as we travel back to 2003!
Catch out previous years.
National Football League
After a number of positive years, Limerick finally earned promotion to Division 1 as they topped the pile in Division 2A with six wins from seven.
As they did the previous year, Liam Kearns’ side started with three successive wins over Leitrim, Antrim and London.
Defeat was their lot in round four against Westmeath.
But they regrouped for three more wins over Offaly, Louth and Wicklow to earn top spot ahead of Westmeath.
In the Division 2 semi-final they played Wexford who finished second in Division 2B.
Here they were victorious 2-13 to 0-7 to set up a rematch with Westemath in the final.
However, the Leinster side would continue to have their number as they won out by a point, 1-16 to 2-12 in the decider.
Nonetheless, the main goal of promotion had been secured.
Munster Football Championship
Limerick’s progress would finally bear fruit in 2003 as they picked up a first Munster championship win since 1991 as they put Cork to the sword in Pairc Ui Chaoimh, winning 0-16 to 0-6.
That was Limerick’s first win over the Rebels in almost fifty years and set up a tie with Clare in the semi-final.
Goals from Conor Fitzgerald and Johnny Murphy would help Limerick to a 2-14 to 0-12 win and a first Munster final in twelve years where they would face Kerry.
Limerick would play last years losing All-Ireland finalists in Killarney where the Kingdom’s experience would prove the difference as Dara O’Cinneide got the games only goal.
Kearn’s youthful side eventually fell to a 1-11 to 0-9 defeat that saw them enter the qualifiers at round four, one step away from a first ever All-Ireland football quarter-final.
However, here they were paired with defending All-Ireland champions Armagh who proved far too strong, winning 4-10 to 0-11, ending Limerick’s season.
Armagh would go on to contest a second consecutive All-Ireland final.
National Hurling League
In an altered format, it was a tale of two leagues for Limerick. IN Division 1B, the Treaty were dreadful, losing to Cork, Offaly, Wexford and Tipperary, defeating only relegated Derry in the process.
However, they would then enter Division 2, where they would win each of their three games against Waterford, Laois and Dublin by an aggregate margin of seventeen points.
Munster Hurling Championship
In the quarter-finals of the championship, Limerick and Waterford played out an enthralling 4-13 to 4-13 draw in Semple Stadium with Conor Fitzgerald, Andrew O’Shaughnessy, Mark Foley and Niall Moran netting.
Paul Flynn’s excellence would prove the difference in the replay a week later as he took his tally over the two games to 4-10, as the Deise ran out 1-12 to 0-13 winners.
In Round 1 of the qualifiers, Limerick played Munster neighbours Kerry who had come through the preliminary qualifiers.
A stubborn home side put it up to Limerick in Austin Stack Park before David Keane’s side pulled away for a 0-24 to 1-4 win.
Offaly awaited Limerick in Round 2 with the winners progressing to the quarter-finals to take on Tipperary.
However, the Faithful County had far too much for Limerick who fell to a 1-18 to 0-14 defeat in Thurles.
For the fourth time in five years, the winners of the Intermediate Championship of the previous summer would reach the senior final with Athea facing Drom Broadford.
Yet, Drom’s experience of winning the competition in 2001 would help them to a comprehensive 1-12 to 0-7 win over Athea.
Fellow West side St Senans won the Intermediate championship.
Bruree were crowned Junior A kingpins while Feenagh Kilmeedy won the Junior B Championship.
Familiar faces reigned supreme in the Limerick SHC as Patrickswell derailed Adare’s bid for three in a row, defeating the West side 1-13 to 0-14 in the decider.
This drew Patrickswell level with Ahane at the top of the SHC roll of honour with 18 titles.
In the intermediate championship, West side Tournafulla would run out as champions.
Feenagh/Kilmeedy added to their JAFC win as they took the Junior A hurling while Newcastle West were crowned Junior B winners.