Win, lose or draw on Sunday, the county’s senior and minor hurlers have already made a memorable contribution to summertime in Limerick. After years of underachievement on the pitch and a wearying absence of sunshine in the skies above, the summer of 2013 is already putting its hand up as one to remember. Our cup runneth over on both counts.
We live in a county that measures more than 40 miles from one end to the other and as Limerick people it could be said that there is little enough to unify us. What matters to the communities out in Athea or Abbeyfeale generally doesn’t come up in conversation in Castleconnell or Croom, never mind the city centre. That is one of the challenges facing the joint Limerick authority when the merger of city and county is completed by next year’s local elections. The man in charge of that process, Conn Murray, has already noted in these pages that there is nothing like the sight of the county jersey to instill local pride across all communities.
Support for the Munster rugby team these days is exceptionally strong in both the city and county, and Thomond Park has witnessed scores of uplifting occasions, but it takes the men in green and white to really bring the whole of Limerick together as one. So it is this Sunday and we fervently hope that the 2013 journey will bring more Sundays to savour. To even think about a day out in September at a certain stadium in Dublin 3 risks putting a hex on our hurlers, but the point is that we have every right to dream, such has been the excellence of the current campaign.
To read our comprehensive Munster final coverage of the sports pages is to understand that the progress made by the senior team has been down to sheer hard work and conscientious attention to detail as much as God-given talent.
They should know that the people of Limerick appreciate the sacrifices made in the pursuit of glory. There is no better hurling support in the country than that which our own county can boast on a big day. That’s not hyperbole - it was clearly demonstrated in 1994, 1996 and 2007 when Limerick came close to the summit, but didn’t quite make it. The same fervour could make a big difference come Sunday.
No matter the result, though, we can be thankful that once again we have a cause to rally behind in force. Bring it on!