FOR the fourth year in a row Limerick play in the Munster MHC final this Sunday (2.00) in the Gaelic Grounds against Tipperary.
Testament to the work of all in the Hurling Academy, the clubs, schools and colleges of Limerick the conveyor belt of talent is constant at present.
It is talent that returned two Munster minor titles but there was to be no hat-trick last year.
Just like last season Tipperary provide the opposition in Sunday’s minor final, which has a 2.00 start in the Gaelic Grounds as the curtain-raiser to the main event of Waterford and Tipperary in the Munster SHC final at 4.00.
For Limerick it’s just the third staging of the senior final in the Gaelic Grounds in the last two decades.
Win or lose on Sunday, Limerick will be guaranteed at least an All Ireland quarter final on July 23/24.
Pat Donnelly was a selector last year but is now the Limerick minor manager with Anthony Daly as coach, John Mulqueen and Brian Foley as selectors and Mikey Kiely as strength and conditioning coach.
”We are not thinking beyond a Munster final - we want these lads to win a medal if they can. A Munster final no matter where it is you would be delighted,” said Donnelly.
”It is going to be a huge occasion. We will have to work hard - we won’t take anything for granted,” he vowed.
Three of the Limerick minor team remain from last year’s provincial final starting team – captain Kyle Hayes, Darragh Carroll and Brian Ryan. Ryan will be appearing in his third final – in 2014 he was introduced as a sub in the drawn final with Waterford.
“Everything for us is about working hard. If we don’t bring our work rate we will struggle. No have no superstars but we have great honest hurlers that work as a team,” Donnelly said proudly.
“I keep saying that there was nothing between all these Munster teams up along the levels. It will be the same on Sunday – it could be whoever works best with the occasion,” said South Liberties’ Donnelly.
“It’s a Munster final but for us this is another game – we have won two games and now we want to win another game. There is no talk of Munster finals,” explained the manager.
”We had a meeting last Friday night and brought them back down – told them that they had only won a match and left Waterford with no prize.”
He added: “The lads from last year know what it feels like not to win the final”.
Loud in praise of his players, Donnelly also spoke glowingly of his backroom team.
”Behind the scenes we have a great set-up. I have to say that all work by the lads makes life so easy for me as manager. The lads have been top class – we lost one of our coaches Will McCormack about five or six weeks ago when work took him to the US and people like him have been involved all the way up with the academy teams.”
What of Sunday’s final opponents?
”They steam-rolled Cork in the second half of their semi final. Like us they have players from last year. In that final last year we missed a goal chance early and it shows that you have to take your chances in a final – especially for goals,” outlined Donnelly.
GAA officials have advised that tickets for Sunday’s Gaelic Grounds Munster hurling final are on public sale.
Tickets can be purchased online at gaa.tickets.ie and in participating Centra and SuperValu stores. Mackey Stand adult tickets are €35, while an uncovered adult stand costs €30. Adult terrace tickets are €25, while all juvenile tickets are €5. Student/OAP concessions are available. Tipperary have been allocated the Caherdavin End terrace, while Limerick and Waterford have been allocated the City End terrace.