Limerick were made to work for their fourth successive Munster title on Sunday.
After winning the 2021 All-Ireland Hurling championship in four games, Limerick yesterday claimed the Munster title in their fifth game of the season.
The incredible Munster final swung in either direction as Clare pushed the Treaty to extra-time where Kiely’s men found an extra gear to secure a four-in-a-row of provincial titles.
The victory concluded a near flawless Munster championship for Limerick as they amended the draw with Clare in the final game of the round robin to make it a clean sweep of wins against Cork, Waterford, Tipp and the Banner.
Back-to-back All-Ireland champions and now four in a row in Munster, Limerick have been made to work over the last eight weeks as they now await the All-Ireland semi-final on 3 July in Croke Park.
Limerick will gladly accept the break after an enthralling campaign thus far that began on April 17 in Pairc Ui Chaoimh and included trips to Ennis and Thurles.
Recap an eventful Munster championship campaign below.
Cork 1-17 : 2-25 Limerick
Limerick put their league woes to bed with a tenth consecutive championship victory to kick off the 2022 campaign.
A pair of first half goals from Kyle Hayes and Aaron Gillane set the tone for Limerick who were comfortable 2-25 to 1-17 winners in the end.
However, it didn’t start that way for Limerick who trailed by a goal inside fifteen seconds as Shane Kingston fired to the net. Cork had the next pair of scores as they looked set to overturn the heavy defeat suffered in the All-Ireland final.
Limerick didn’t score until the 6th minute but by the 15th minute mark, Hayes had given them their first lead which was 2-9 to 1-8 at the interval.
Cork did level early in the second half but Limerick then powered clear, scoring ten of the next twelve points to ease any worries and get their season off to the perfect start with the eleven point victory.
Limerick 0-30 : 2-21 Waterford
Limerick survived a late goal rush from Waterford to secure a second successive Munster championship win, this time a 0-30 to 2-21 result.
The Deise hit the ground running and hit over the first three scores of the evening while Barry Nash also made a goal stopping block.
Aaron Gillane got Limerick off the board but then lost Cian Lynch to injury as Waterford raced 0-8 to 0-3 ahead inside a quarter of an hour.
But with Lynch’s clubmates Gillane and Diarmaid Byrnes in fine scoring form, Limerick were 0-14 to 0-13 to the good at the interval.
There was little between the sides heading into the final quarter of an hour before a Limerick surge pushed them seven clear with as many to play.
But quickfire goals from Stephen Bennett and Jack Prendergast had the sides within one.
Limerick didn’t panic and insurance scores came from Pat Ryan and Byrnes to make it two from two.
Limerick 3-21 : 0-23 Tipperary
Limerick made it three Munster championship wins on the trot in the TUS Gaelic Grounds as they beat Tipperary 3-21 to 0-23.
The Shannonsiders left it late to secure the win with goals in the final quarter from Aaron Gillane and Conor Boylan spoiling any chance of an upset.
Gillane goaled early in the first half but Tipp seemed primed and ready for the Limerick challenge as they led 1-9 to 0-14 at the interval.
Diarmaid Byrnes eventually levelled for Limerick with less than ten to play before the pair of goals killed off the Tipperary challenge.
The win booked Limerick’s passage to the All-Ireland series prior to the first encounter with Clare.
Clare 0-24 : 1-21 Limerick
A brilliant tussle between Limerick and Clare ended in a stalemate as the result ensured a rematch in the Munster final three weeks later.
Kyle Hayes, positioned at full forward, netted after a quarter of an hour for Limerick but there was nothing to separate the sides at the break with the teams level at 1-12 to 0-15 in a half where no team led by more than a puck of the ball.
Tony Kelly, hit the last of his 16 points just ten minutes into the second half but the teams were still level when Gearoid Hegarty was controversially sent off with ten to play.
But with a man down, Diarmuid Byrnes came to the teams rescue with his ninth point to draw the sides level for the 14th time in the game with time in the red.
Limerick 1-29 : 0-29 Clare (AET)
Limerick claimed a fourth Munster title on the trot following an incredible 1-29 to 0-29 win after extra time against Clare.
A titanic encounter from start to finished wasn’t truly settled until the very last whistle when Clare pushed hard for an equalising goal.
The Banner started the better and were three clear before Gearoid Hegarty levelled with a brilliantly taken goal nearing the half with the sides level at the change of ends.
This trading of the the lead continued throughout the second half before MOTM Seamus Flanagan had Limerick 1-17 to 0-18 to the good with a quarter of an hour to play.
But Clare, didn’t relent and drew level nearing the final whistle.
Declan Hannon responded with a monstrous score with the clock firmly in the red but with a sideline ball from a seemingly impossible angle, Tony Kelly sent the game to added time.
But Limerick pushed on in the first period of additional time, moving into a three point lead that Clare could not claw back.