THE future of Limerick hurling is bright.
That was the prediction of the Ardscoil Ris manager after his side won back-to-back Dr Harty Cup title yesterday with a 25-point win in the Gaelic Grounds decider.
And the Ardscoil manager is none other than Limerick inter-county hurler Niall Moran.
â€œThis weekend was a very good weekend for Limerick hurling. You had UL and LIT playing each other in the Fitzgibbon Cup final and you had seven or eight lads involved and today on the field of play you had 16 or 17 guys from Limerick,â€ explained Moran.
â€œThat all goes well for the future. There are plenty hurlers in Limerick and its up to the people over it to take them through to the next level,â€ said the Ahane man.
ULâ€™s 1-17 to 2-11 Fitzgibbon Cup success over city rivals LIT on Saturday came thanks to an injury-time goal from Patrickswellâ€™s Thomas Oâ€™Brien.
Twenty four hours later, his brother Kevin was among the goals for Ardscoil Ris.
â€œThere is no reason why we shouldnâ€™t be competing at the highest level at all grades and we will,â€ said Moran after the Ardscoil Ris win.
Thomas Oâ€™Brien (a past pupil of Ardscoil) was joined in the victorious UL side, by fellow Limerick man Seamus Hickey - a former Harty Cup winner with St Flannanâ€™s of Ennis.
On the losing LIT side were a host of local players. Sean Tobin and Donie Reale were goal scorers for the Davy Fitzgerald managed side.
Others who played were Paul Browne, Jason Hayes and Colin Madden, all of Bruff and Paudie Oâ€™Brien.
While UL celebrate their first Fitzgibbon Cup success since 2003, across town, Ardscoil Ris are already plotting to add the All-Ireland title to their Munster senior A colleges championship.
The North Circular Road secondary school were beaten in last seasonâ€™s All-Ireland final by Kilkenny giants St Kierans and have revenge on their minds.
â€œLast year we were very disappointed to loose an All-Ireland final and our main goal now is to get back to that level and rectify that. But there are major challenges ahead because there are some very good Kilkenny and Galway sides,â€ said Moran.
â€œWe will take it stage by stage again - we cant afford to look beyond the semi-final but ultimately we want to get back into the All-Ireland final.
The school has never won an All-Ireland title and its 1967 since Limerick last won an All-Ireland colleges title. It will take a lot of hard work but these guys are willing to put it in,â€ said Moran.
â€œEvery day you win a Munster final is a special day for both management and players. Itâ€™s a major major honour and due credit to all people who put in the work within the school and within the clubs.
This is a network situation and we are benefiting from the work done by other people and we are thrilled for those people as well.â€
Ardscoil Ris are back boned by players from Na Piarsaigh, Patrickswell and Adare GAA clubs.
â€œOur first half performance saw us go in 13 or 14 points up and it was just a case of maintaining that for the five minutes after the second half and once we did that I was confident we would win,â€ said Moran.
â€œI have to give due credit to Charleville. They are a very well organised and coached team and for a school the size of Charleville is an enourous achievement. I feel sorry for them that they didnâ€™t perform to what they are capable of.
I know when they go into an All-Ireland quarter-final, Iâ€™m glad the opportunity to show what they are really capable of because they are a fine side.â€
He continued: â€The one thing that we had going into this final was a degree of experience and we needed to knock that home in the first 10 or 15 minutes and unsettle Charleville and in fairness to the lads they had 1-6 or 1-7 up in the opening 10 minutes or so and that made it very difficult for Charleville to settle. In Charlevilleâ€™s defence, they never got the opportunity to settle into what they are capable of.
The boys were very very professional in what they did and I am delighted for them, because they are a super bunch of guys and they have put in an enourous amount of workâ€.
While Ardscoil Ris and UL are celebrating after the weekend, there was more woe yesterday for the Limerick senior footballers as they fell to their third straight league defeat.