Declan Hannon claims Limerick hurling would have been set back years had they lost to Wexford in Sunday’s All-Ireland quarter-final.
So much had been spoken of about Wexford coming into the game but Hannon explained everything was on the line for the Munster runners-up.
Hannon accepts Limerick deserved the “bit of stick” that came their way following the defeat to Cork.
However, he and his team-mates were motivated not to suffer a second successive loss and arrest the progress they’ve made especially over these last two seasons.
“If we lost ... I mean, a loss would have been a lot bigger than winning,” said Hannon. “If we lost it would have set us back the last three or four years, the good work that we put in would have been gone.
“It would have been worth nothing. I know the Munster final was great last year but at the end of the day we want an All-Ireland, so that’s what we’re striving to get to.”
Hannon feels Limerick return to Croke Park after last year’s disappointment against Clare a far better team. “I think we have a lot more confidence in the team compared to a few years ago. A few years ago we were kind of going along with hope that we might get through, that maybe we will cause an upset. But now we have earned respect and teams are more fearing us than us fearing them.”
The Adare man is raring to face Kilkenny at GAA HQ on Sunday week after his personal disappointment against Clare there at the same stage of the championship 12 months ago when he hit five first half wides, four from placed balls.
He said that they were determined to get to Dublin as a mark of respect to Donal O’Grady, who missed Sunday’s win with a calf injury.
“We wanted to do it for him because we wanted to get back to Croke Park. We didn’t do ourselves justice at all last year against Clare. But we’ve a lot of work still to do.
“We had a lot of missed chances in the first half again. We’ve a lot work on, but we’re happy to be there. There will be a great buzz around and people in Limerick are mad for success, and so are we.”
Meanwhile, former Limerick captain Ollie Moran believes there is a strong reluctance to give the hurlers the credit they deserve.
Moran felt their Sunday’s 24-point win was passed off in the main asWexford’s weariness catching up on them.
He claims the lack of recognition coming Limerick’s way goes back to last year’s Munster championship.
A number of players such as Paul Browne and Shane Dowling have mentioned how perceptions in the media have motivated them this year.
On Sunday, TJ Ryan took exception to their Munster final defeat to Cork earlier this month being described as a “typical Limerick performance”.
Moran maintains Limerick’s disappointing All-Ireland semi-final against Clare 12 months ago continues to be held against them.
“Limerick are still being judged on the basis of a poor hour’s hurling in Croke Park last year. Winning a Munster title was put down to Limerick twice having home advantage.
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