Reeling in the Years: Limerick GAA’s 2019:

Our Reeling in the Years of Limerick GAA concludes today as we look back on last year where the hurlers secured the Munster title but lost their All-Ireland crown.

In the football there were great strides made by Billy Lee’s side while familiar faces reigned in the club championships.

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2019

Hurling

National Hurling League

For the first time since 2010, Limerick began the season in the top tier of the League.

Their first game as All-Ireland champions came in Wexford Innovative Park where they defeated Davy Fitz’ men.

This was followed by comprehensive wins over Tipperary and Kilkenny with the latter coming in Nowlan Park.

They would run out of steam against Cork in the Gaelic Grounds and finished the group campaign with a draw against Clare.

This earned them top spot in the group and a place against Laois in the quarter-finals.

In O’Moore Park, Limerick proved far too strong for the 1B side as they ran out comfortable 2-22 to 0-11 winners.

This set up a clash with Dublin in the last four in Nowlan Park.

In a tense affair, Kiely’s charges held a slender 0-10 to 0-9 lead at the break.

Heading into the final quarter Limerick still held a slim lead before 1-5 from the All-Ireland champions pulled them nine clear with Seamus Flanagan getting the goal.

Dublin replied with a goal and four of the next five scores to reduce the gap to three.

But in the end time was against them as a 1-19 to 1-16 win secured Limerick a place in the League final for the first time since 2006.

National League Final

Back in Croke Park, Limerick faced Munster rivals Waterford.

Limerick raced out of the blocks and had eight scores within the opening 13 minutes.

But Waterford gained a foothold eventually, reeling off four unanswered to leave just a point in it with ten minutes to go to the break.

Aaron Gillane’s genius goal on 28 pushed Limerick ahead as they went into the dressing rooms with a 1-12 to 0-10 lead.

Limerick were 1-16 to 0-11 ahead within ten minutes of the restart and kept their opponents at arms length throughout.

In the end they ran out 1-24 to 0-19 winners for their first League success since 1997.

Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Final, Croke Park, Dublin 31/3/2019 Limerick vs Waterford The Limerick team celebrate Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Munster Hurling Championship

Limerick welcomed Cork to the Gaelic Grounds in the opening game of their Munster championship.

After a win, a loss and a draw in their three previous encounters from the last 12 months, there was nothing to separate the teams early on in Limerick GAA HQ.

Kiely’s side would get the first goal as Graeme Mulcahy blasted to the net to give them a 1-8 to 0-8 lead.

Limerick held a 1-11 to 0-12 advantage at the break.

Cork had the first three scores of the half as they took the lead on 45 minutes.

Munster GAA Senior Hurling Championship Round 2, Gaelic Grounds, Limerick 19/5/2019 Limerick vs Cork Cork’s Patrick Horgan scoring his sides first goal Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

The gap was out to four on 51 minutes as Patrick Horgan raced in for a goal.

Limerick could not keep up with Cork who completely dominated from there on in as they succumbed to a 1-26 to 1-19 defeat to start their championship defence.

Essentially facing elimination in their second game of the competition, Limerick traveled to Walsh Park to take on Waterford.

The Deise raced into a three point lead and were two to the good after 16.

From here, Limerick dominated as they did in the League final to devastating effect.

Aaron Gillane’s goal pushed Limerick ahead as they outscored Waterford 1-8 to 0-2 in the final twenty minutes of the half.

This left them 1-10 to 0-7 to the good at the half.

Gearoid Hegarty’s goal on 38 minutes put the game to bed as Limerick steamrolled to a 2-24 to 0-10 win.

Clare were up next for the Treaty at the Gaelic Grounds where a loss could have eliminated Limerick.

Limerick raced into a 0-6 to 0-1 lead as they overwhelmed the visitors around the park.

Clare did begin to grow into the game and lead by Peter Duggan the gap was down to four with 25 minutes on the clock.

However, another surge by Limerick prior to the whistle had them 0-15 to 0-7 to the good.

10 minutes into the second half and Limerick had it out to double scores leading 0-18 to 0-9.

It was double scores on 58 as Limerick lead 0-22 to 0-11 before Aaron Gillane got the games opening goal.

From here Limerick eased to an eighteen point, 1-28 to 0-13 win.

Tipp were Limerick’s final group game in Semple Stadium with Liam Sheedy’s side winning each of their opening four games.

For the game, with Limerick’s progression to the knockout stages guaranteed, John Kiely rang the changes.

After a nip and tuck opener, Tipp had the first two point lead after twenty which was stretched to 0-8 to 0-5 a couple of minutes later.

Sheedy’s men seized the initiative and went into the tunnel with a 0-12 to 0-8 lead.

Munster GAA Senior Hurling Championship Round 5, Semple Stadium, Co. Tipperary 16/6/2019 Tipperary vs Limerick Tipperary’s Sean O’Brien tackles Limerick’s Tom Morrissey Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ken Sutton

Graeme Mulcahy’s introduction reinvigorated Limerick and they had the opening two scores to halve the deficit.

Seamus Callanan would reply with a goal to increase the lead again.

The sides would continue to exchange scores for the remainder of the half but Limerick could never get within reach of Tipp who recorded a 1-22 to 0-21 win.

Clare’s win over Cork later that day meant Limerick would meet Tipperary in the Munster final in the Gaelic Grounds.

Munster Final

The sides were level numerous times in the opening ten minutes before Tip pulled two clear.

Seamus Callanan’s 18th minute solo goal had them 1-6 to 0-4 to the good at the Gaelic Grounds.

It would only take Limerick seven minutes to draw level at 1-7 apiece with Peter Casey hitting the net.

Limerick would grab four of the next six scores to take a two point lead into the break.

Munster GAA Senior Hurling Championship Final, LIT Gaelic Grounds, Limerick 30/6/2019 Tipperary vs Limerick Limerick’s Peter Casey scores his sides opening goal Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Limerick pulled three clear on the resumption but John McGrath’s expertly taken goal had it even on 43 minutes.

Limerick would again pull clear and held a three point lead when Kyle Hayes pounced for his sides second goal on 54 minutes to give Limerick daylight at 2-18 to 2-12.

Eight of the final ten scores would go the way of Kiely’s men as Limerick won a 20th Munster title.

The win also meant Limerick held the All-Ireland, League and Munster titles simultaneously.

Munster GAA Senior Hurling Championship Final, LIT Gaelic Grounds, Limerick 30/6/2019 Tipperary vs Limerick Limerick’s Aaron Gillane /celebrates winning after the game Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

All-Ireland Semi-Final

That Munster final win meant Limerick advanced straight to the All-Ireland semi-final where they faced Kilkenny.

Having been knocked out by the Cats in 2017 before knocking Cody’s side out in 2018, there was huge stakes on the line, not least the All-Ireland final berth.

The Leinster side’s ferocious workrate and intensity was a staple from the beginning as they humbled Limerick early on, racing into a 0-7 to 0-2 lead.

Colin Fennely’s goal on 13 minutes would put eight between the sides.

Limerick did eventually find their rhythm and had it back to 1-11 to 0-9 appraoching the break.

Aaron Gillane’s penalty would reduce the gap to two with Kilkenny notching the final point of the half to leave it 1-12 to 1-9 at the interval.

GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final, Croke Park, Dublin 27/7/2019 Limerick vs Kilkenny Limerick’s William O’Donoghue Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry

The Cats controlled the restart as they did the first half but Limerick would draw closer once more and were within one after 48 minutes.

Kilkenny would pull two clear but Limerick responded.

This trend continued for a couple of minutes before Kilkenny pushed five clear with ten to play.

Shane Dowling’s goal would breathe life into the Limerick cause on 63 minutes and a minute later they were within one.

However, Kilkenny would pounce to push two clear again.

Diarmaid Byrne’s ’65 in additional time had it down to one again with Darragh O’Donovan placing a sideline in the hope of snatching a draw.

His effort deflected wide but was not picked up by the officials as Limerick fell to a 1-21 to 2-17 defeat in Headquarters, relinquishing their title.


Football

National Football League

Judging from results alone, it appeared to be a poor campaign for Limerick who picked up just two wins from their seven games, with both of those coming in the opening two rounds against Waterford and London.

However, in those five losses, two would be by just a point with the biggest losing margin five against eventual champions Derry.

Nonetheless, Lee’s side would finish second from bottom.

Munster Football Championship

In the Munster quarter-finals, Billy Lee’s side were paired with Tipperary in Semple Stadium.

Limerick had gone seven years without a Munster win and three without a championship win of any kind heading into the game.

However, they seemed determined from the start against the 2016 All-Ireland semi-finalists and made much of the early running.

Lead by Iain Corbett they opened up a 0-6 to 0-4 lead although Tipp had it levelled at the half.

Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final, Semple Stadium, Co. Tipperary 11/5/2019 Tipperary vs Limerick Tempers flare between Tipperary’s Shane O’Connell and Limerick’s Jamie Lee Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Corbett would get the games opening goal of 47 minutes to push Limerick 1-9 to 0-8 ahead.

Cillian Fahy’s goal ten minutes later had Limerick seven to the good.

Conor Sweeney would reply but two more for Limerick had them 2-11 to 0-9 to the good with ten to play.

Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final, Semple Stadium, Co. Tipperary 11/5/2019 Tipperary vs Limerick Limerick’s Iain Corbett scores a goal despite Brian Fanning of Limerick Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Michael Quinlavin would finally breach the Limerick rearguard and with time running out, Tipp had the gap down to four.

However, Peter Nash would have the last say with his goal sealing the victory for Limerick as they moved on in Munster for the first time since 2012.

Munster Semi-Final

Cork awaited Limerick in the Munster semi-final in the Pairc Ui Rinn.

After making such strides against Tipperary, things would not got to plan for Billy Lee’s side as Sean McSweeney’s first minute strike hit the post.

They would go on to rue this miss as three goals within the opening 14 minutes had Cork race into a 3-7 to 0-0 lead.

Seamus O’Carroll would get Limerick’s first of the game with the scoreboard reading 3-8 to 0-2 at the half.

Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final, Pairc Ui Rinn, Cork 1/6/2019 Cork vs Limerick Limerick goalkeeper Donal O’Sullivan dejected after the game Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

The second half was a tame affair as Cork eased to a 21-point, 3-18 to 0-6 win.

Qualifiers

Limerick were drawn to face Westmeath in Mullingar in the second round of the qualifiers.

Limerick were 0-2 to 0-1 ahead after wing backs Gordon Browne and Iain Corbett nudged the away side ahead.

They were wasteful however and Westmeath held a 0-9 to 0-5 lead approaching the half.

A sucker punch goal on the stroke of the break had the Leinster side seven to the good.

22 June 2019; James Dolan of Westmeath scores his side’s first goal despite the efforts of Iain Corbett of Limerick during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 2 match between Westmeath and Limerick at TEG Cusack Park in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Wetsmeath had their second just after the half as they moved into a commanding position.

Jamie Lee cancelled out the goal with three successive points but again there were a number of wides thrown into the mix for Limerick.

Darragh Treacey’s goal on 54 minutes gave Limerick hope and they were within four with ten minutes to go.

The Treaty side wouldnot add ot their score howver as Westmeath advanced on a scoreline of 2-13 to 1-10.


Club Championships

Hurling

Patrickswell moved to the top of the Limerick SHC Roll of Honour with their 20th ever win after they beat Na Piarsaigh 1-17 to 0-15 in the final.

Na Piarsaigh were looking for a three-in-a-row but the ‘Well were for full value for a 1-9 to 0-6 lead at the break with Josh Considine producing a cracking goal.

They would go 25 minutes without a score as Na Piarsaigh levelled middway through the second half.

Diarmaid Byrnes and Aaron Gillane would push Patrickswell back in front and from here they the game never looked in doubt as they avenged the defeat from the 2015 final.

Blackrock completed their journey to the senior ranks as they defeated Kildimo Pallaskenry 1-18 to 0-16 in a replay of the Premier Intermediate Hurling Final in the Gaelic Grounds.

In the Intermediate Championship, after many years of suffering Glenroe made it to the PIHC after defeating Newcastle West in the decider.

Kilmallock ‘s second team were crowned Junior A winners while Garryspillane won out the Junior B Championship.

Football

In the Limerck SFC, Newcastle West were crowned champions after they beat Oola in the final.

Newcastle dominated from start to finish and were utterly deserving of their 1-11 to 0-8 win over the East side.

Newcastle lead 0-9 to 0-2 at the break before Iain Corbett’s second half goal put the tie to bed.

Iain Corbett gets his shot away despiet Josh Ryan’s best efforts in the 2019 Limerick SFC between Newcastle West and Oola. CREDIT: Sport Action Photography

Galtee Gaels earned promotion to the senior ranks after they defeated Gerald Griffins after a replay in the IFC.

The Junior Football title went to Monaleen while Banogue won Junior B honours.

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