IN HONOUR of the unforgettable summer of hurling they served up in 2013, which culminated in their Munster final victory, the Limerick senior hurling team and management have been named the Limerick Persons of the Month.
Under clear blue skies and in searing heat, the hurlers ended a 17-year famine on July 14 by beating Cork at home in the Gaelic Grounds to take the Munster crown.
The final whistle sparked scenes of wild euphoria as thousands of Limerick supporters swarmed onto the pitch to congratulate their local heroes.
“Obviously, winning the Munster final in the Gaelic Grounds with the pitch invasion has to be the highlight of the year,” team captain Donal O’Grady remarked at the Clarion hotel late last week.
The Granagh-Ballingarry man had the honour of lifting the Munster Cup on that memorable Sunday afternoon.
“It was unbelievable to see the supporters come onto the pitch after. It will long live in the memory,” he added.
Donal was joined at the Clarion for the Person of the Month presentation by the 2013 team manager, John Allen, and his fellow team-mates including Kilmallock’s Paudie O’Brien, Bruff’s Paul Browne and Declan Hannon of Adare.
John Allen, who made the trip from his native Cork for the presentation, described the award as “a great honour for a team sport”.
“The players get so little recognition unless they win Munster championships or All-Ireland championships. It’s good that the local newspaper recognises the achievement and honours the team that produced a great performance to win a Munster Championship in 2013,” he said.
Limerick’s journey to the Munster final began at the Gaelic Grounds at the semi-final stage - by virtue of a bye – when they came face-to-face with Tipperary on June 9.
Going in as the underdogs, Limerick went on to prove the critics wrong. Despite a late comeback by the Premier County, they fought on to record their first win over Tipperary in the championship since 2007.
Looking ahead to the 2014 season, John Allen - who stood down from his Limerick managerial role in September – expressed confidence in the ability of the newly appointed joint managers of the senior team - Garryspillane’s TJ Ryan and Cork’s Donal O’Grady.
“TJ Ryan has given his life to Limerick hurling and Donal O’Grady has great experience and has been here before,” he remarked.
“Mark Lyons [selector and physical trainer from Kilmallock] being involved again this year is a great coup. It is a good management. There is a good team there. I wish them all the best for 2014.”
His sentiments were echoed by team captain, Donal O’Grady.
“They are two good appointments. It is great to get a bit of stability. Both of them would have a good insight into Limerick hurling over the last number of years. Overall, I think it will be a great appointment for Limerick.”
The Limerick Person of the Month award is sponsored by the Limerick Leader, media agency Southern, and the Clarion Hotel.
To see a video of the award presentation log on to our website www.limerickleader.ie