By David Raleigh
Emergency supplies of hurleys, sliotars, and green and white jerseys have been ordered for a Limerick sports shop, as All-Ireland fever takes over the city and county.
The hunt for tickets for fans to see their side take on Galway in the Croke Park decider, this Sunday, has also reached a frenzy.
Steve Gleeson jnr, owner of Gleeson’s Sports Scene, said he’s ordered “emergency stock” to cope with demand for all things hurling.
“Our stock is hopping off the shelves," said Gleeson.
"The sale of hurleys has gone through the roof,” he added.
“I had already ordered extra stock for what I thought I would have needed but I’ve had to order even more. It looks like we just wont have enough to cope with demand," he explained.
Limerick has gone hurling mad with fans hoping their team can bury the ghosts of 1973, when Limerick last won an All-Ireland hurling final.
Local hurling nut, Paddy O’Halloran, has been praying for victory, as well as a ticket, to a life-sized statue of the Virgin Mary, which he erected in his front garden seven years ago.
“I rescued (the statute) from a shed in the County a few years ago, and I put her in the garden, and she’s nice there,” explained Paddy, 75.
Paddy said he hopes "Our Lady" can end the 45-year hurling famine on Shannonside.
“I’ll definitely be saying a few prayers to her for Limerick to win,” he added.
Like Paddy’s house in Thomondgate, the entire city and county has been wrapped in a blanket of green.
Homes, businesses, streets, and even bails of silage have been decorated in green and white.
“The whole city is on a high. I have a ticket, thankfully, but everyone is looking for them,” said Gleeson.
His late father, Steve Gleeson Snr was the youngest man to ever referee an All-Ireland Final, aged 27, when he adjudicated between Kilkenny and Waterford in the 1957 final.
Steve jnr said he will never forget Limerick’s last All-Ireland victory 45 years ago.
“I remember traveling up to Dublin in the car with my father and being lifted over the turnstiles… I was only a youngfella.”
“I remember the excitement of the journey and, then, the homecoming, there was bonfires lighting all over the county.”
Even the former US President Barack Obama has gone green.
A life-sized cardboard cut-out of the former President, wearing the Limerick hurling jersey, greets patrons at the entrance of the Barack Obama Plaza motorway rest stop, located on the M7 route from Limerick to Croker.
Lots to like about a holiday in Ireland, but boy do they like to emphasise their history. This maybe a bit far - Barack Obama Plaza😉 pic.twitter.com/hF8sddLSAp— Graham Thom (@GrahamThom1) August 11, 2018
It looks more like St Patrick’s Day in the Treaty City with green everywhere for the eye to see.
Limerick City and County Council workers have decorated the city’s three main bridges with green flags, and hotels and businesses have also gone green.
Cars have been painted green in the county as have silage bails.
One fan decorated a 'NO PARKING' sign for added hilarity as the thirst for tickets reaches pandemonium levels.
"NO PARKING UNLESS YOU HAVE SPARE TICKETS! GALWAY FOR THE RACES...LIMERICK FOR LIAM #45 YEARS" reads the message on the makeshift sign attached to three bollards.
'No Parking'August 15, 2018
Limerick fans abroad have taken to social media to beg for tickets for the big match.
Limerick lady Lauren O’Sullivan, who’s studying law in Belfast took to twitter to try to secure a ticket for her “legend” father John who donated his 1973 final ticket to his brother when they were just boys.
Lauren’s grandfather Liam, who passed away four years ago, used to play for Kilfinane, Co Limerick, and was a founding member of Sean Treacy’s GAA club in London.
“Example of legend: Dad was 13 the last time Limerick won the Liam McCarthy Cup and had a ticket. Travelled from London to watch it. Yet STILL ended up listening on a radio *outside the stadium* as his uncle lost his own ticket and Dad gave him his,” she wrote.
Meanwhile, hurling mad couple PJ and Hannah Ryan are also desperate for tickets for the match which takes place on their 40th wedding anniversary.
PJ and Hannah met at the homecoming celebrations of the 1973 wining Limerick hurlers.
“We've the accommodation booked but all were missing is the two tickets. It’ll be a terrible heartbreak if we cant get in,” said PJ.
“It's a very special occasion for us and especially if they win because it would bring back a lot of memories of the (1973) homecoming.”
For those in Limerick not lucky enough to secure tickets for the final - they can watch every nail-biting second of it, live, on two big screens - one in the Gaelic Grounds - and the other in The Square, Newcastle West.