Our Reeling in the Years of Limerick GAA continues today as we go back to 2018 as Limerick finally reached the promised land for the first time in 45 years.
Catch out previous years.
National Hurling League
For the eight successive year, Limerick were resigned to Division 1B hurling.
After a number of near misses, Limerick seemed intent of earning promotion as they overpowered Laois, Offaly, Dublin and Antrim in the first four rounds with an average winning margin of 14 points.
This set up a winner takes all clash with defending All-Ireland champions Galway in Salthill on the final day.
A sluggish opening half had Limerick Limerick down by eight, 1-15 to 1-7 as Aaron Gillane goaled from a penalty.
On the resumption of the half, Limerick were a completely different side and Kyle Hayes goal on 47 minutes had the gap down to just a point.
Seamus Flanagan would bring the sides level but Galway would restore their lead.
It would not be until the 68th minute when Cian Lynch finally put Limerick into the lead as Pat Ryan’s insurance score saw Limerick pick up the deserved 2-18 to 1-19 win and a place in Division 1 for the first time since 2010.
That win saw Limerick progress to take on Clare in the league quarter-finals in the Gaelic Grounds.
Once again, Limerick found themselves behind by a large margin with Clare leading by 9 after just 22 minutes.
Aaron Gillane’s goal helped settle Limerick as they trailed by three at the break.
His second on 52 minutes put Limerick ahead with Pat Ryan’s goal bringing them further clear.
However, Peter Duggan’s haul of 0-15 had the Banner ahead in injury time before Colin Ryan’s sideline brought the game to extra-time with the game finishing 3-16 to 0-25.
Clare seemed to have the game wrapped up in extra time before Diarmaid Byrnes last hour goal from a free meant two more periods of five minutes.
Again Clare looked to have the victory but Gillane’s long range free meant the game went to a free taking competition.
Both sides scored their opening five attempts with Gillane, Colin Ryan, Tom Morrissey, David Reidy and Byrnes all on target.
In sudden death, Gillane and Duggan exchanged scores before Clare missed ith their seventh attempt.
Colin Ryan was on hand to score his second as Limerick secured a memorable victory in unique circumstances with the game ending 4-21 to 0-33 (7-6).
Limerick then traveled to Semple Stadium to face Tipperary in the league semi-final.
The sides were level 0-10 apiece approaching injury time in the first half with Limerick twice coming from four points behind to level, a foreshadowing of what was to come.
Two late points had Tipp 0-12 to 0-10 ahead at the break.
With three minutes of time to play, Tipp’s advantage was at 0-26 to 0-22 as Ronan Maher’s fifth of the day seemed to have them home and hosed.
Yet, as they did in each of their previous two encounters, Limerick came from the dead to muster four on the bounce to send the game to extra-time.
A brace of goals from Jason Forde would give the Premier a commanding 2-28 to 0-29 lead at the half in extra-time.
However, a goal from Graeme Mulcahy and a point from David Reidy had the Treaty within three with time running out.
In the end Limerick wouldn’t be able to create the goal as they fell valiantly to a 2-31 to -1-31 loss bringing an epic league campaign to an end.
Munster Hurling Championship
In the newly restructured championship that saw each Munster side play each other, Limerick welcomed Tipp to the Gaelic Grounds in a replay of the league semi-final.
Tipp were propelled into the lead after 20 minutes with Dan MmcCormack finding the games first goal.
The sides traded scores throughout the rest of the half as Tipp held a 1-10 to 0-12 lead at the break.
Limerick were three clear after 58 but 1-1 in succession put Tipp back ahead.
Cian Lynch woul regain the lead for Limerick on 62 minutes before Barry Mmurphy’s goal helped seal a 1-23 to 2-14 win.
Next up Limerick traveled to Pairc Ui Chaoimh to take on Cork.
The sides were very evenly matched throughout the opening half an hour before Aaron Gillane’s red card gave Cork numerical supremacy for the closing 40 minutes.
As such, Cork held a slender 0-14 to 0-12 lead at the half.
However, despite only playing with fourteen men, Limerick tore into Cork and were level on 50 minutes.
Patrick Horgan would net for Cork but Limerick were well on top throughout the field and with Seamus Flanagan in blistering form, Limerick were back ahead by three soon after.
Slowly Limerick began to tire and Darragh Fitzgibbon looked to have the tie won for the Rebels before Kyle Hayes’ last gasp point sealed a classic 0-28 to 1-25 draw in the Pairc.
Limerick then welcomed Waterford to the Gaelic Grounds knowing a win would see them into the knockout stages of the All-Ireland.
Not to be overawed by this, Limerick began like a train and Gearoid Hegarty and Graeme Mmulcahy’s first half goals paved the way for a brilliant Limerick win.
Those three pointers gave Kiely’s side a 2-14 to 0-7 lead at the break.
Shane Dowling’s personal tally of 0-15 would help Limerick ease to a 2-26 to 1-16 victory.
Limerick’s last group game pitted them against Clare in Ennis. Iif Limerick were to avoid a defeat then they would be guaranteed a spot in the Munster final for the first time since 2013.
A win for Clare would clinch that place for the Banner as they began brightly in front of a manic home crowd.
Yet, Clare could not really shake off a below-par Limerick side as they held a slender 0-10 to 0-7 lead after a half hour.
Both sides were then reduced to 14 prior to the break as Clare left the field with a 0-13 to 0-9 lead.
While they threatened to punish a lackluster Limerick side in the first half, Clare would do just that in the second has Limerick could not find the goal that they desperately needed.
In the end Clare would canter to a 0-26 to 0-15 win and send Limerick tot he preliminary quarter-finals.
All-Ireland Preliminary Quarter-Final
For a chance to play Kilkenny in the quarters, Limerick traveled to Newatch Cullen Park to take on Joe McDonagh champions Carlow.
Kyle Hayes got Limerick back on track immediately as he netted after just 30 seconds.
Graeme Mulcahy and Aaron Gillane would add further first half goals as Limerick held a commanding 3-9 to 0-4 lead over the Leinster side at the half.
Diarmaid Byrnes would add his sides fourth goal after 55 minutes before substitute Peter Casey tacked on 1-3 to secure the dominant win.
The game would end with Limerick 5-22 to 0-13 winners.
All-Ireland Quarter Final
And so Limerick moved into the quarter-finals where they would take on Leinster finalists Kilkenny.
The Cats had knocked out Kiely’s men in his first season in charge and they looke nervous early on as Kilkenny opened up a 0-7 to 0-3 lead.
However, Limerick began to grow into the game and on 27 minutes, Kyle Hayes had the sides level at 0-9 apiece.
Limerick would dominate the remainder of the half to take a 0-15 to 0-12 lead into the break.
It could have been a lot worse for Cody and his men were it not for three super saves from Eoin Murphy in goals.
Limerick maintained that distance throughout the early parts of the secind half with Murphy again to the rescue for Kilkenny.
The introduction of Richie Leahy gave Kilkenny new hope and he tacked on a couple of scores to settle the Ccats.
Peter Casey and Shane Dowling would make their mark for Llimerick off then bench but on 63 minutes Kilkenny would regain the lead with Richie Hogan’s goal putting them 1-21 to 0-22 ahead.
Fro the resulting puckout Tom Morrissey would fetch the sliotar and drive over the bar to bring the deficit to one.
Casey would level as the sides exchanged scores with the game level heading into injury time.
With 70 minutes on the clock, Tom Morrissey would collect the ball on his own ’45 before soloing into the Kkilkenny half and slotting one of the best points of the year to give Limerick the advantage.
Aaron Gillane’s late free would seal the 0-27 to 1-22 win and Limerick’s first over Kilkenny since the 1973 All-Ireland final.
All-Ireland Semi Final
In Croke Park, Limerick and Cork would meet again for a place in the All-Ireland final.
After their epic in Pairc Ui Chaoimh the previous year, there was nothing to separate the sides early on.
Limerick would make the breakthrough just prior ot he half with Cian Lynch getting the games first goal to give the Treaty side a 1-12 to 0-14 lead at the break.
It was more of the same at the turn of the half with Cork quickly leveling before pulling 0-20 to 1-15 ahead.
When Conor Lehane fired Cork’s first goal of the day, they held a healthy five-point lead.
With six minutes of normal time remaining, the Rebels were 1-26 to 1-20 to the good and seemingly cruising.
And then came the Limerick response, and emphatic it was.
Six on the bounce had Limerick level heading into injury time with tensions at a high for the 70,000+ in attendance.
Then Nickie Quaid would come to the rescue with words failing to do his save/flick/intervention justice.
Limerick would go up the field from that moment, win a free and move into the lead from Gillane’s subsequent placed ball.
There would be one more turn as Cork won a free with time up with Patrick Horgan slotting with minimal fuss.
Into extra-time and there was just a point between the sides at the half.
With six minutes of the game to go, Shane Dowling was awarded a penalty after being dragged down in the Cork goalmouth.
Not content with the 0-4 he had notched since his introduction, the Na Piarsaigh man blasted into the corner of the net to pull Limerick clear.
90 seconds later, a brilliant individual goal from Pat Ryan put the game to bed as Limerick held out for a famous 3-32 to 2-31 victory that is a must watch for any hurling fan.
That set up a date with Galway in the Al-Ireland final.
The Tribesmen were defending champions but Limerick took the game to them from the very start and had the opening three scores within ten minutes.
Galway would take the lead on 20 minutes but would hold it for less than 60 seconds as Graeme Mulcahy bundled home the games first goal.
Limerick held a 1-10 to 0-9 lead at the break which could have been much more were it not for some wayward shooting from Kiely’s side.
Three on the bounce from Kyle Hayes had Limerick 1-15 to 1-10 to the good ten minutes in to the second half.
Tom Morrissey was on hand to notch Limerick’s second goal with Dowling adding a third on 68 minutes.
That gave Limerick a 3-15 to 0-16 lead with eight minutes of normal time to play.
Iit was only in additional time did Galway really find their rhythm and Conor Whelan’s goal gave them hope with six to go.
Joe Canning’s goal a couple of minutes later brought them to within two as they grew in confidence.
Niall Burke would put just one between the sides as Limerick approached ten minutes without a score.
Needing a score desperately, up stepped Graeme Mulcahy to grab a crucial score.
A ’65 from Canning reduced the margin to the minimum again and the Portumna man had a long range free to level with the last puck off the ball.
As soon as it left his stick, the ball seemed destined to land in the Llimerick square with fears of ’94 prevalent.
But out came Tom Condon with the sliotar to evoke scenes of Joy on Jones’ road and across the county as Limerick’s 45-year wait was ended.
The late Doloras O’Riordan’s ‘Dreams’ played out as Declan Hannon became the first Limerick man to lift the Liam MacCarthy since 1973.
An unforgettable year.
National Football League
It would prove to be a bitterly disappointing League campiagn for Billy Lee’s side as they picked up just one win from thier six league games.
That would come against Waterford as they could only manage a draw with London.
Ultimately, their final round clash with Wicklow was postponed due to inclimate weather conditions and then later cancelled which was met with much criticism.
Munster Football Championship
Limerick entertained Clar ein the Munster quarter-finals.
Clare raced into an early 0-6 to 0-1 lead which was compounded when Jamie Malone found the net for the Banner.
However, lead by the impressive Danny Neville and Jamie Lee, Limerick responded well to reduce the gap to five at the break.
Clare would go 13 minutes without a score as Lee and Sean McSweeney to close the gap to just a goal.
However, the Limerick resistance would peter out as Clare’s bench started to make an impact scoring five in a row to end Limerick hopes.
In the end the Banner would canter to a 12-point win as Limerick’s search for a first Munster championship win since 2012 continued.
After drawing the short straw of Tyrone in the 2017 draw, Limerick would once again be paired with perennial All-Ireland contenders, this time in the form of Mayo who had contested each of the previous two All-Ireland final.
Needing a fast start, Limerick got just that as Sean McSweeney goaled form the penalty spot after four minutes.
Mayo were level five minutes later and were 0-6 to 1-0 ahead after 20 as Limerick failed to add to their goal.
Iain Corbett would break the duck before Cillian O’Connor’s goal had them 1-10 to 1-1 ahead at the break.
Mayo were in control at the start of the second bt Seamus O’Carrol’s goal did offer Limerick some hope.
This was dahsed as Mayo scored an unanswered 4-3 in an 11-minute spell.
The Connacht side would eventually win out 5-19 to 3-7 o end Limerick’s summer.
Na Piarasigh would record a first ever back-to-back in the Limerick SHC as they beat Doon 2-22 to 3-10 in the Gaelic Grounds.
Appearing in their first final since 2001, Doon got the first goal within two minutes from Pat Ryan.
Na Piarsaigh wouldn’t take the lead until the 23rd minute but controlled the game from here on in, holding a 0-11 to 1-5 lead at the break.
As they did in the first, Doon got an early goal through Dean Coleman, but Nap’s response was emphatic as David Dempsey netted.
Adrian Breen’s goal with ten minutes later would give Nap a nine-point lead as they strolled to their fifth title of the decade.
Garryspillane earned promotion to the senior ranks as they beat Bruff 2-13 to 0-12 in the Premier Intermediate final.
Dromin Athlacca defeated Croom 2-15 to 0-14 to the the Intermediate hurling crown.
In a hotly contested local derby in the Junior Huling Final, Tournafulla would reign supreme at the expense of Kileedy.
Cappamore were crowned Junior B hurling champions.
Adare made it back to back championships as they overcame Ballylanders 1-13 to 0-12 in Newcastle West.
The champions opened the scoring but five unanswered would follow from the South Limerick side.
Indeed Landers were 0-9 to 0-5 to the good at the half.
However, 0-7 unanswered from Adare had them back in the box seat with a lead they would not relinquish.
Charlie McCarthy’s late goal would copper fasten the win for Adare.
Galbally would return to the senior ranks as they beat Rathkeale 1-6 to 0-8 in the Intermediate Final.
In the Junior A championship, Kildimo Pallaskenry won out.
Drom Broadford had a point to spare over Granagh Ballingarry as they were crowned Junior B Football Champions.