The occasion was the opening of the superb Staker-Wallace GAA facilities, generously funded by local resident, the well-known JP McManus. The occasion was also marked by the honouring of the Limerick team of 1973, the last time the Liam MacCarthy resided on Shannonside. The official opening was performed by the Limerick team captain from that occasion, Eamon Grimes.
Also honoured were their opponents on that famous occasions, Kilkenny, with one notable absentee, current Cats manager Brian Cody (left-half-back that day) still recovering from his recent cardiac surgery
Limerick controlled the opening half to hold a deserved six-point lead, 1-13 to 0-10. Their goal came in the 10th minute, wing-forward Seamus Hickey sending a blistering shot to David Herity’s net.
Free-taker Declan Hannon had six points to his credit in this half, five from placed balls, while the two inside flyers Graeme Mulcahy and Seanie Tobin each had a brace. Regular midfielder James Ryan was impressive on the 40, with Na Piarsaigh youngster Cathal King doing reasonably well in midfield.
At the other end it was another free-taker, full-forward Eoin Larkin, doing most of the Cats scoring, five points, but otherwise Eoin was getting very little from full-back Richie McCarthy, newcomer Mark Carmody doing very well in the corner.
The real platform for Limerick however was the half-back line of Paudie O’Brien (captain for the night and a man-of-the-match performance), Wayne McNamara and Gavin O’Mahony, well on top of the returning TJ Reid for Kilkenny.
In the second half Limerick were still very much on top, leading 1-24 to 0-17 after 67 minutes. Shane Dowling came on at half-time to take over free-taking duties from Hannon, and did so to perfection, showed outstanding accuracy both from play and from frees. Also getting on the scoreboard with a well-taken point apiece were another two second-half subs, Niall Moran and Thomas Ryan.
The final minutes saw a mini-comeback from Kilkenny, yet another sub, Thomas Breen, with 1-1, and newcomer Joe Brennan with four fine points. Too little too late, the right result on the night but Kilkenny too can take a lot of positives from their display.
Final word on the Staker-Wallace club itself — kudos on a really well-run evening, augurs well for them in the future. Congrats also the those doughty men of 73.
Scorers for Limerick: S Dowling 0-7 (4f 0-1 65); D Hannon 0-6 (4f 0-1 65); G Mulcahy 0-3; P Browne 0-2; S Tobin 0-2; P O’Brien, D Breen, J Ryan, N Moran, T Ryan, 0-1 each, S Hickey 1-0.
Scorers for Kilkenny: E Larkin 0-8 (6f); J Brennan 0-4; T Breen 1-1; A Fogarty 0-2; M Ruth 0-2; TJ Reid, C Buckley, P Hogan, 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy, M Carmody; P O’Brien (c), W McNamara, G O’Mahony; C King, P Browne; D Breen, J Ryan, S Hickey; G Mulcahy, S Tobin, D Hannon.
Subs: A Dempsey (Walsh 35); K Downes (Hannon 35); D O’Grady (King 35); S Dowling (Breen 35); P Ahern (Tobin 53); N Moran (Mulcahy 56); T Ryan (Hickey 62); D Reidy (J Ryan 67).
KILKENNY: D Herity; P Walsh, K Joyce, J Tyrrell; P Hogan, B Hogan, C Fogarty; L Ryan, C Buckley; TJ Reid, M Ruth, M Kelly; J Brennan, E Larkin, A Fogarty.
Subs: T Breen (Kelly 35); G Aylward (Buckley 35); T Walsh (P Hogan 35); W Phelan (Ruth 52); J Tennysonn (Ryan 56); M Ruth (Larkin inj. 57); B Kennedy (Tyrrell 62); T Keogh (Ruth inj. 70).
Referee: C McAllister (Cork).