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green giants Unstoppable Limerick produce Croke Park masterclass to retain All-Ireland hurling crown

Limerick 3-32 Cork 1-22

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Declan Hannon, left, and Kyle Hayes of Limerick celebrate after the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final

Declan Hannon, left, and Kyle Hayes of Limerick celebrate after the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final

Declan Hannon, left, and Kyle Hayes of Limerick celebrate after the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final

Limerick have earned the right to be officially classified as one on the great hurling teams of the ages.

They justified their tag of favouritism in today’s All-Ireland final to retain the Liam MacCarthy Cup for the first time in their history and win the biggest prize in hurling for the third time in four seasons.

On the centenary of being the first ever recipient of the Liam MacCarthy Cup, the Treaty County were winning the All-Ireland title for just the tenth time in their history – the fact that three of those wins have been achieved by this squad under the management of John Kiely underlines their greatness.

They produced one of the greatest ever All-Ireland final performances to demolish Cork. All but four points of their record tally of 3-32 came from play but the Cork challenge completely collapsed.

The game was over as a contest at half time when the Munster champions – who were beating Cork for the third time this season – had posted a remarkable 3-18 and led by 13 points.

This was the third one-sided All-Ireland final on the spin but it was hardly a surprise. The game merely illustrated the reality that Limerick are probably two scores better than any of their rivals right now.

But for a dodgy refereeing/umpiring decision at the end of the 2019 All-Ireland against Kilkenny, Limerick could now be celebrating four All-Ireland wins in a row. However, given that none of their outfield players will be 30 until 2023, their potential to add more All-Irelands is obvious.

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Séamus Harnedy of Cork can find no way past the Limerick defence

Séamus Harnedy of Cork can find no way past the Limerick defence

Séamus Harnedy of Cork can find no way past the Limerick defence

Ultimately they are unlikely to win as many titles as the Kilkenny hurlers or Kerry or Dublin footballers did when they were in their prime. But regardless of what the future holds for them their legacy is guaranteed. And this victory was all the sweeter as it was against one of the game’s super powers.

So, Cork were now experiencing their worst ever famine at All-Ireland level having surpassed the previous 16-year break without a title between 1903 and 1919. Still, having won both the minor and U-20 titles earlier this week and given the age profile of the side their time will come – but probably not for a couple of years at least.

Scorers:

Limerick: A Gillane: 1-6, (3f), G Hegarty 2-2; C Lynch 0-6, P Casey 0-5, T Morrissey 0-3, B Nash, D Byrnes (1f, D Hannon 0-2 each. D O’Donovan, S Flanagan, G Mulcahy, B Nash, P Ryan, D Reidy 0-1 each.

Cork: P Horgan 0-12, (10 f), S Harnedy 0-4, S Kingston 1-0, N O’Leary, J O’Connor, L Meade, M Coleman (1f), A Cadogan, S Barret 0-1 each

More to follow...

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