WATCH | Limerick’s Path To All-Ireland Glory

As Limerick fans around the country rejoice, let’s take a look back at how they reached this historic four-in-a-row.

A 2023 championship that has been thrilling throughout has finally drawn to a close, and for the fourth year running Limerick have once again came out on top.

The final win over Kilkenny means it is four All-Ireland wins in a row for John Kiely’s men, and a place in the history books as just the third county to achieve the feat.

However, it hasn’t been plain sailing for the Shannonsiders, who faced a shaky Munster campaign which led to a lot of doubts surrounding their All-Ireland capability this year.

As champions do, they responded superbly to a first championship defeat in four years to retain their provincial title before roaring past Galway and Kilkenny in Croke Park to ensure the Liam MacCarthy will reside in Limerick once more.

23 July 2023; Cian Lynch of Limerick with the Liam MacCarthy Cup after the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship final match between Kilkenny and Limerick at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

As Limerick fans around the country rejoice, let’s take a look back at how they reached this historic four-in-a-row.

Limerick 1-18 : 0-19 Waterford (Munster Championship)

23 April 2023 in Semple Stadium

Limerick kicked off their defence of the Munster title with a trip to Thurles, where they met Davy Fitzgerald’s Waterford.

While some would have expected it to be plain sailing for the League champions, it was far from it, especially when they went down to 14 men in the second half following the dismissal of Gearoid Hegarty.

A dogged Waterford gave everything they had, and at times it looked like they were going to turn Limerick over, scoring seven out of ten points to draw within one of the reigning champions.

But in the end, Seamus Flanagan’s goal in the 21st minute would prove the difference, as Limerick rallied late on to get over the line, with Tom Morrissey impressive.

Limerick 2-20 : 1-24 Clare (Munster Championship)

29 April 2023 in TUS Gaelic Grounds

Following the nervy Waterford affair, Limerick returned to Shannonside for their first home game, with Clare the visitors.

It was the first time the sides had faced off since the 2022 Munster final, and Clare gave all their might to get over the line by the minimum, and hand Limerick their first championship loss in 17 games.

The goals were crucial in this one, with Peter Duggan to hero for Clare, netting in the 40th minute. Seamus Flanagan raised two green flags on the evening, his second coming in the dying embers, as he hoped to inspire a turnaround.

Aron Shanagher was the man to come up with the crucial scores for the Banner, throwing over two magnificent in injury time to secure the result, and shock Limerick.

Limerick 0-25 : 0-25 Tipperary (Munster Championship)

21 May 2023 in Semple Stadium

Limerick and Tipperary clashed in Thurles in a thrilling Munster classic, where the scores ended level following a last gasp free from substitute John McGrath.

The Shannonsiders were nervy in the game, and they trailed by three points at the interval.

However, Kiely’s men exploded into the second half, with Cathal O’Neill impressive in particular, landing two points in quick succession and five overall.

The sides were going blow for blow, and for a finish, it was McGrath’s free that ensured the tie finished level after Tom Morrissey looked like he had won the contest.

Limerick 3-25 : 1-30 Cork (Munster Championship)

28 May 2023 in TUS Gaelic Grounds

This day could be seen as the turning point in Limerick’s year. They came into the meeting in shaky form, and the loser of this tie knew that they would be eliminated from the championship.

Despite all the questions being asked of Kiely’s side, they put on the most spirited display they had in a long time, with Diarmaid Byrnes heroic from half-back.

Byrnes joined Aaron Gillane and Cathal O’Neill as the goal-scorers on the day, crucial in driving their side over the line.

Following Tipperary’s shock loss to Waterford on the same day, Limerick’s victory actually meant they qualified for the Munster final, and would once again lock horns with Clare.

Limerick 1-23 : 1-22 Clare (Munster final)

11 June 2023 in TUS Gaelic Grounds

The big day was filed with controversy, both before and during the game.

There was a dispute as to where the game would be played, with Clare not in favour of travelling down to Cork for the clash.

For a finish, it was decided the Ennis Road would host the repeat of the 2022 Munster final, and the venue was packed with fans of both sides to create an electric atmosphere.

During the game, there wasn’t much to keep the sides apart, but Aaron Gillane’s goal came at a crucial juncture for Limerick, who were able to assert their dominance.

A Clare fightback meant they were just one point behind in the closing stages, and many Clare fans felt they were deserving of a free when Tony Kelly was bundled over.

To the grievance of the Banner faithful, it was judged not to be a foul, and the final whistle sent the Limerick fans into raptures.

Five Munster titles in a row, and a place in the All-Ireland semi-final confirmed.

Limerick 2-24 : 1-18 Galway (All-Ireland semi-final)

8 July 2023 in Croke Park

Limerick got to enjoy a four week break following their Munster glory, while Galway were made to play Tipperary in a quarter-final.

The Tribesmen heartbreakingly lost the Leinster final to Kilkenny in the dying seconds, and were hoping they might get another go at the Cats in the final should they make it through.

But, in truth, Limerick cruised to victory. Eventually, that is.

Galway exploded into life, and a Limerick side that were dealing with some injury issues struggled to adapt early on. The Shannonsiders trailed by six points after 25 minutes, as the reshuffle to replace Declan Hannon at centre back struggled.

Darragh O’Donovan was crucial in the Limerick fightback, scoring and assisting from his midfield berth to bring his side back into contention as they trailed by just one at the break.

Aaron Gillane’s second goal is what really swung the tie, the Patrickswell man was unstoppable on the day.

Limerick had fought back and cruised the All-Ireland final, where they would once again meet Kilkenny.

Limerick 0-30 : 2-15 Kilkenny (All-Ireland final)

23 July 2023 in Croke Park

It was a repeat of the 2022 All-Ireland final, as Limerick locked horns with Kilkenny hoping to win their fourth Liam MacCarthy in a row and join the Cats in the process.

A domineering second-half display in which they scored 0-21 drove them over the line, with Peter Casey scoring 0-5 after the interval.

Diarmaid Byrnes was once again inspirational from half-back, catching the world of ball, and throwing over 0-8 himself.

In the absence of captain Declan Hannon, Cian Lynch led the team, and the Patrickswell man gave an inspired display to get his side over the line.

At half time, the final result seemed in doubt with Kilkenny giving as good as they got but in the end there was only team at the races in the second half as Limerick made more history.

For Kiely and his players, their eyes will be set upon getting that fifth next. But for now it’s time to revel in their achievement.

GAA coverage on Sporting Limerick is brought to you in association with Noels Menswear, shop online here or visit in Dooradoyle, Limerick City or Newcastle West.

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