Twelve months ago, Mulcahy and her colleagues had to endure defeat at the last hurdle on this same pitch. Manager Joe Quaid promised that they would be back and they delivered in the best possible fashion.
“I left here last year absolutely gutted,” said Mulcahy, yesterday’s player of the match after scoring 0-7, including three great efforts from play in the second half.
“We put in so much work last year and to come back here now and to win, it’s brilliant. We had a junior team also this year and there was a real panel ethos that has really paid off.”
Mulcahy played a huge role in victory, converting four frees in the first half. But it was in the second half she really flourished, as her switch with Rebecca Delee paid dividends for both.
The Limerick defence kept the shackles on Mags Fennelly and Orla Hanrick, and few could argue the merit of this result.
Kilkenny captain, Fennelly gave her team a good start with a point from distance after just 30 seconds but Mulcahy gave an early reminder of her dead ball prowess by converting two placed balls in response.
They held that two-point lead when Deborah Murphy scored a vital goal in the 20th minute, after the pacy Delee and Mairead Fitzgerald had combined well down the left.
Fitzgerald’s delivery across the square broke to Murphy and she cut back inside to bury an unstoppable shot.
Kilkenny showed their mettle though to finish with three points in the last four minutes, two from Hanrick frees, either side of a mammoth score — also from a placed ball — by full-back Catherine Foley. That left it delicately poised at the break 1-5 to 0-6 and Kilkenny had the margin down to one when Hanrick pointed early in the second half.
Minor star, Caoimhe Costello sent over two excellent points in response for Limerick but once more, there was an impressive reply from Fennelly and Hanrick.
Quaid moved Mulcahy to the right wing in the second half, Delee going to centre-forward, and both players really enjoyed the change of scenery, scoring five points from play between them to help Limerick pull clear.
Mulcahy started the run with two excellent scores and added another, in between two excellent points by Delee.
That gave Limerick a five-point lead and with Michelle Casey and Fiona Hickey magnificent in the full-back line, Kilkenny never looked likely to deny the Shannonsiders.
Scorers for Limerick: N Mulcahy 0-7(4fs); D Murphy 1-0; R Delee, C Costello 0-2; M O’Callaghan 0-1.
Scorers for Kilkenny: O Hanrick 0-5(3fs); L Fitzpatrick, M Fennelly 0-2 each; C Foley 0-1(f).
LIMERICK: S Moynihan, F Hickey, M Casey, J Mulcahy, K Campbell, S Carey, C Mulcahy, N Mulcahy, C Costello, R Delee, M O’Callaghan, L McCarthy, D Murphy, A Sheehan, M Fitzgerald.
Subs: S McNamara for McCarthy (ht), D O’Brien for Fitzgerald (ht), K O’Leary for O’Callaghan (45), N Ryan for Murphy (60), D Fitzpatrick for Sheehan (60).
KILKENNY: AM Lennon, E Frisby, C Foley, T Muldowney, C Aylward, A Fahey, S Quirke, M Farrell, M O’Connell, S Crowley, A Farrell, L Norris, L Fitzpatrick, O Hanrick, M Fennelly.
Subs: A Gannon for Norris (ht), A Kinsella for Quirke (50), SA Quinlan for Hanrick (52).
Referee: R Kelly (Kildare).