Limerick have won the first-ever televised free-taking competition, and it had people glued to their TVs for the rescheduled Bank Holiday clash, writes Stephen Barry.
Colin Ryan was the Limerick hero, converting his second 65-metre free of the shoot-out to make it 7-6 after Clare's Niall Deasy missed.
Limerick have beaten Clare in the Allianz hurling League, dramatic finish Limerick winning by frees! pic.twitter.com/ixIdZW1cTN— The GAA (@officialgaa) March 19, 2018
That finally brought an end to the gripping match five minutes short of three hours – one which is being labelled the longest inter-county hurling game of all time.
As the marathon match headed towards 7pm, some people were worried their whole day could be consumed in a never-ending match.
For feck sake, lads... have you no homes to go to??!! I have a dinner to cook!! This game started more than two and a half hours ago!! Massive credit to #Limerick & #Clare hurlers for serving up a thrilling Marathon!#AllianzLeague pic.twitter.com/OVTonOtFHq— Des Cahill (@sportsdes) March 19, 2018
— Oisin Langan (@oisinlangan) March 19, 2018
The year is 2028. The 2018 Allianz Hurling League champion has yet to be crowned.— Eoin Sheahan (@EoinSheahan) March 19, 2018
Some players, past and present, suggested some tweaks to the free-taking format.
They shouldn’t have to wear their helmets. As an aside. I know, I’m never happy😂 #GAABeo— Jamie Wall (@Jamwall7) March 19, 2018
Should be like soccer/rugby where new frees takers come in from the first 5— Jamie Coughlan (@coughlan_jamie) March 19, 2018
Wrong. Give the managers a go https://t.co/ktV3Yl4Mk0— Colm Parkinson (@Woolberto) March 19, 2018
Others proposed a 'golden point' to decide a winner, or a good, old-fashioned penalty shootout.
Play next point wins. #AllianzLeague— Tony Maher (@Piomaher1979) March 19, 2018
Although there were some whackier alternatives put forward too.
Four-time All-Ireland final referee Brian Gavin was just glad for the man in black.
Ah the shoot out at least no one can blame the Ref now😂— Brian Gavin (@referee34) March 19, 2018
It was an unusual and entertaining end, but neither manager was a fan of it all.
Wonderful display of sheer guts, commitment & skill by both Limerick & Clare Hurlers today. Congratulations Limerick on getting to Semi Final. But in my humble opinion there has to be a better way to settle things than taking 65’s ! It didn’t do it for me.@GaaClare @LimerickCLG— Marty Morrissey (@MartyM_RTE) March 19, 2018
And spare a thought for Peter Duggan, who scored a mammoth 19 points and then converted two frees only to end up on the losing side.
Peter Duggan with 21 points, holy .... Big unit— Aidan O Mahony (@GmailMahony) March 19, 2018
It may have been a victory for Limerick, but Cork's Jamie Coughlan knew who the real winner was.