“WE have now just won what many believe to be the greatest All-Ireland championship of all time,” rejoiced Limerick GAA chairman John Cregan, to much acclaim.
The Dromcollogher-Broadford man was addressing a packed Limerick GAA Victory Banquet in Dublin’s Citywest Hotel the night of the All Ireland SHC final.
“In what is my greatest ever privilege can I on behave of Limerick County Board salute all involved in this famous victory – our team captain Declan Hannon and his 35 colleagues, their manager John Kiely and his management team and backroom team,” said the Limerick GAA chairman.
”They are a fantastic bunch of guys and they carry themselves so well. They are so dignified and carry themselves with such humility,” he emphasised.
The celebratory event was attended by over 1,000 guests with as many more packing the other bars, restaurants and corridors of the vast resort to show their support to the new champions. The Sunday Game’s Michael Lyster broadcast live from the function room bringing the Limerick celebrations onto RTE TV.
Black Diamond Photography was on hand to capture the event for Limerick GAA.
“We set out together last January to embark on a journey to success and this has now been achieved in a truly remarkable fashion,” said Cregan.
“This year was different, this championship was different and this Limerick team are now very very different – they are All-Ireland champions. This so-called championship that kept on giving, has now given us the greatest prize in hurling – the Liam MacCarthy Cup after a 45-year absence.”
“I want to acknowledge the contribution made by our clubs and the many thousands of supporters both at home and scattered around the world. Can I also acknowledge the contribution of the County Board and in particular our County secretary Michael O’Riordan, who has been absolutely superb in the last number of weeks, Liam Bourke our treasurer and all the other County Board Officers,” praised the Limerick GAA Chairman.
“On a sad note, earlier on this year we lost our honorary president, my great friend and your great friend, the late and great Rory Kiely. I think somehow that Rory is smiling down from his bed in heaven tonight and he played a part in today,” said Cregan.
Among the invited guests was GAA president John Horan.
“Earlier in the year I opened the new facilities in the Gaelic Grounds and I noticed on the wall that there were eight segments and seven were filled with All-Ireland titles and today the eighth one was filled,” Horan told the attendance.
The president added: “In the last two years South Liberties have invited me down to their Golf Classic and as part of their request they have always asked me would I bring Sam (Maguire) and Liam (MacCarthy) down.
“I am quite sure next year the request be solely be for Sam with Liam already there!”
Mayor James Collins and Munster Council chairman Jerry O’Sullivan also spoke.
* All pictures from Black Diamond Photography.