Luimneach Abú once more as Cork's famine continues

Croke Park may have only been half full and the trophy ceremony was a hands-off affair, but the anticipation and excitement synonymous with All-Ireland hurling finals were still in evidence
Luimneach Abú once more as Cork's famine continues

A Limerick supporter among the Cork fans during the All-Ireland SHC final at Croke Park. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The green and white ribbons will stay on the Liam MacCarthy Cup for another year and while the famine goes on for Cork fans, for lovers of hurling, today's record-breaking encounter marked another milestone back to something like normality.

Croke Park may have only been half full and the trophy ceremony was a hands-off affair, but the anticipation and excitement synonymous with All-Ireland hurling finals were still in evidence, the colour and noise generated in the stadium in contrast to the eerie atmosphere of last year's decider.

But some things stayed the same: namely, Limerick dominance.

A flurry of early scores by both teams suggested we could have a tussle for the ages, but, instead, it was Limerick who put on a show, an indomitable display of brains and brawn which had all but secured the All-Ireland title by half-time.

In truth, a 13-point gap between the teams at that stage was always likely to prove beyond any team taking on this Limerick side, and so it proved. The Rebels battled on, but the gap widened further. By the 50-minute mark, it was double scores, 34 points to 17, the Shannonsiders tigerishly turning the screw. By the second sos uisce, there was still a 16-point gap and already sharp exchanges gained a new edge as the match ebbed away from Cork. 

Cork supporters during the All-Ireland SHC final at Croke Park. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Cork supporters during the All-Ireland SHC final at Croke Park. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

At times, it seemed Limerick had an extra man — which made substitute Graham Mulcahy's decision to snap a loose hurley like he was making firewood, during the course of a second-half set-to, seem a little unnecessary. Corkonians were left dispirited by the early extinguishing of their hopes, Limerick fans gleefully watching the clock as more scores were tapped over. 

The final minutes became a festival enjoyed entirely by those in green and white — and objective admirers of a side that had just scored the highest points total in All-Ireland history.

Among those in attendance was Roger Mulqueen from Bruff. In the run-up to the final, he'd arranged his hay bales into an All-Ireland homage, complete with a white van emblazoned with the slogan 'Donal Óg Transport 211-C-1' and, in a reference to the M7 hay spillage that delayed the semi-final, the line ‘The Only Way To Beat Limerick’.

In the end, Limerick needn't have worried about external forces getting in the way. As for the roadside display, Roger said: "The mother said to me this morning, 'if we lose it's down by Tuesday'." It'll be staying up so.

"The atmosphere was unreal," said Roger. While only 14 of the usual 27-strong crew were on the bus, he said many of those sitting around him and his friends in Croker were familiar faces. 

"In 2018, I was crying, that was the emotion," he said. "Last year, we couldn't even get to the pub. Today was great."

Limerick supporters during the All-Ireland SHC final. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Limerick supporters during the All-Ireland SHC final. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

It's always someone's first All-Ireland final. On Sunday, it was the first for Cathal Calnan, who attends Gaelscoil Mhichíl Uí Choileáin in Clonakilty and who lives in nearby Ring. 

"It was great," said the nine-year-old of the atmosphere and occasion, even though he admitted "I was a bit disappointed" at the final scoreline. All was not lost, however: Cathal's mother, Aine, is from Co Limerick and probably had a chance to get the green and white flag back outside the family home after Cathal had apparently hid it on her over the weekend. According to Cathal's father Kieran: "I guarantee it was out as soon as we were on the bus." And why not. Cork will surely come again.

As for the victorious Limerick squad, they'll make their way home to a county basking in glory, even if the Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Daniel Butler, said public health restrictions would mean no traditional street celebrations.

“Discussions took place with Limerick City and County Council, Limerick GAA, HSE Public Health Mid-West, and An Garda Síochána about plans for after the match, but it is not permitted to have any large-scale public events," he said.

Cork's Robbie O'Flynn shoots from Limerick's Kyle Hayes during the All-Ireland SHC final. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Cork's Robbie O'Flynn shoots from Limerick's Kyle Hayes during the All-Ireland SHC final. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

However, having secured back-to-back All-Ireland titles for the first time in the history of Limerick hurling and their third crown in four years, maybe some sort of rollover celebration could take place next year if this side continue to burnish their reputation as one of the great modern-day hurling teams.

Other counties, including Cork, will try and get in the way, but for this year, it's Luimneach Abú.

Brothers Naoise and Fionan Ahern, Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick, and their cousins Sean and Darragh Ahern, Clonakilty, Co Cork, at the All-Ireland hurling final between Cork and Limerick at Croke Park. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Brothers Naoise and Fionan Ahern, Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick, and their cousins Sean and Darragh Ahern, Clonakilty, Co Cork, at the All-Ireland hurling final between Cork and Limerick at Croke Park. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

logo podcast

War of Independence Podcast

A special four-part series hosted by Mick Clifford

Available on
www.irishexaminer.com/podcasts

IE logo

Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox

LOTTO RESULTS

Saturday, August 13, 2022

  • 3
  • 5
  • 7
  • 29
  • 35
  • 47
  • 46

Full Lotto draw results »