THE POWER of sport to lift a county and transform the mood of all ages was celebrated by Limerick County Council at the weekend.
Three of Limerick’s greatest sporting achievements of 2013 were officially recognised by the elected members of the council at a special reception in County Hall on Friday evening.
Limerick’s minor and senior hurling and intermediate camogie sides were honoured at the event which was hosted by the Cathaoirleach of Limerick County Council.
The whole county went hurling mad during the summer as Limerick’s senior hurlers beat Tipperary and progressed on to the Munster final.
The pitch invasion after Limerick beat Cork in the Gaelic Grounds and the jubilant scenes afterwards will never be forgotten. The county from Doon to Abbeyfeale was festooned in green and white flags and sports stores had to double and treble orders of Limerick jerseys, such was the demand.
Bruce Springsteen even mentioned the Munster champions on stage during his Thomond Park gig. All the stars aligned for Limerick in July 2013.
Limerick’s stars of the future also brought a Munster minor title home when they defeated Waterford - the eventual All-Ireland champions - after a replay. They also knocked out a fancied Tipperary side.
While the ladies were narrowly beaten by Galway in the All-Ireland intermediate camogie final in Croke Park after winning the All-Ireland division 2 league.
Cllr John Sheahan presented representatives of each team with scrolls marking the occasion.
“Sport has a wonderful ability to bring people together and it goes without saying that 2013 has been a year to remember for Limerick GAA supporters,” the Cathaoirleach told the packed County Hall.
“I know that the winning of a provincial or All-Ireland division title is not done on the day of battle.
“The extensive training, personal sacrifice and many hours of planning that is required by the players and their mentors to achieve such success begins months beforehand and often goes unrecognised.
“This evening, we are officially giving recognition to such efforts by acknowledging the panels, trainers, coaches, selectors and backroom staff from each of the three teams,” he added. Cllr Sheahan continued said the GAA is very much part of the social fabric in Limerick.
“Supporters have followed their teams through the good and bad times. The years we have been waiting for success have made 2013 all the more special.
“As a proud Limerick man, I will never forget the moment Donal O‘Grady lifted the Munster Cup above his head at the Gaelic Grounds.
I know in the days and weeks that followed the Munster Final, everybody here in Limerick walked around with a pep in their step such was the impact of that incredible moment,” said Cllr Sheahan.
Players and coaching staff from each of the three teams were present in County Hall for the evening’s ceremony as well as proud family and friends.
Roll on 2014 with hopefully more civic receptions to follow success on the playing field.