Declan Hannon: 2013 Munster win gave Limerick a feel for glory

Limerick captain Declan Hannon is one of the few players in green and white to win a Munster hurling final, back in 2013, but he knows the disappointment of a provincial final defeat as well.

Declan Hannon: 2013 Munster win gave Limerick a feel for glory

Limerick captain Declan Hannon is one of the few players in green and white to win a Munster hurling final, back in 2013, but he knows the disappointment of a provincial final defeat as well.

“Yeah, 2013 here was incredible for a lot of Limerick, they obviously didn’t think it would happen and to see the scenes on the field after the game, it was amazing. To be involved was fantastic.

“Obviously then in 2014 we went down to Páirc Uí Chaoimh and we were at the other side of the table and it was massively disappointing, and we had to regroup very, very quickly to get back on the horse again.

“But that’s the way sport is, especially in Munster it’s so competitive that as I said you have to take these chances when they come and Sunday, if we give a performance, hopefully we’ll be there or thereabouts.

“That win in 2013 was significant in retrospect,” adds the Adare clubman: “I suppose Limerick were craving success for so long and to get a bit of it that year was fantastic.

“That year ended disappointingly from our point of view but it gave us a feel of what it was like to win a Munster championship or to be involved in these big occasions, these big days in front of 40 or 50,000 people.

“But 2013 is a long time ago as well, it’s pretty much a new group of players who are going to be involved on Sunday and it’s the same for Tipperary in a lot of cases.”

Still, a lot of Hannon’s teammates have huge underage experience to draw on.

The boys have been involved in Munster under-21 finals and minor finals and everything like that, they have plenty of experience of these kind of games.

“Obviously Sunday’s one is the senior one, it’s the biggest one in Munster that you want to win and absolutely, everybody wants to tick the box for a Munster Championship and I’m sure we’ll discuss it this week.

“But it comes back to us trying to put in a solid performance and if it’s good enough to win it, that’s great, but if it’s not that’s the way it is, we’ll have to move on again.”

Hannon was injured for the round-robin game between the sides, which Tipperary won, so he had the luxury of a watching brief.

“I wouldn’t call it luxury, it’s tough enough now watching from the stands. But look, Tipp have been very, very impressive over the course of the Munster Championship, they’re the form team with four wins from four.

“I think the last day they were very, very good and impressive the way they dealt with Bonner Maher going off injured early in the first half, and how they responded and kept going.”

Tipp had some joy on Nickie Quaid’s restarts the last day, an area where Hannon acknowledges Limerick must improve.

“Everyone targets different areas of different teams and puckouts are a massive part of every team’s game these days.

“We’re disappointed, I suppose, with a couple of games this year in terms of our retention rate and things like that, but that’s just one part of a whole lot of things that go on in a game and a lot of these things will have to go right for us to win on Sunday.

“We’ll obviously focus on ourselves primarily, on getting a good performance for the 70-75 minutes, as Tipp will be doing as well.

“We’ll obviously look back on the video from the last day and see the areas where we can improve on. We’ll have to look at the percentages, at what more we can get out of the game. We’ll just focus on ourselves to try and get as good a performance as we can on Sunday.”

For the day itself it’s a matter of focus — in the warm-up, the parade, all of that.

“You’re just focusing on a few things, four or five different targets that you want to hit and different messages that have come in from John (Kiely, manager) and Paul (Kinnerk, coach) before the throw-in and things like that.

The parade itself is great, it’s great for the fans and it gets the atmosphere going and things like that, but again this group of players has great experience of parades so to be honest we don’t think too much about what goes on around the game before the throw-in.

“I suppose it’s a bit strange, for a Limerick team to be going into the Munster final as All-Ireland champions and league champions, but look we’re just taking it game by game. It’s another game that we want to tick off the list, we want to be Munster champions, but it’s going to take one hell of an effort from us all.

“Lads have really put their hands up and no-one could take their foot off the pedal. Paddy O’Loughlin got his chance and has done brilliantly, William O’Donoghue has done very, very well when he’s come in, Peter Casey... there’s massive competition in every training session, in every A versus B game, in every championship game that takes place.”

Will the defeat in Thurles two weeks ago give Limerick an edge on Sunday? “I don’t think so,” says Hannon.

“Every team wants to win every single game that they can in terms of momentum and confidence that that brings with it and the last game is over and done with. This game is going to take on a life of its own as well and we have to prepare for it as if it’s a new game.”

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