“HE was always adamant that it was a clear point,” recalled former Limerick football manager Maurice Horan this week
Saturday’s All Ireland SFC Qualifier with Wexford is just the second championship meeting of the counties.
July 23, 2011 in Portlaoise was the previous meeting in a round three qualifier that booked Limerick’s place in a first ever All Ireland SFC quarter final in Croke Park.
“It was a magic moment,” Horan recalled of the final whistle in a 1-18 to 1-17 win over Wexford in O’Moore Park.
The winning score – deep into injury time – from an Ian Ryan free.
One umpire waved it wide, one waved a point and then came consultation with referee Derek Fahy.
“He was always adamant that it was a clear point. I remember some time afterwards speaking with someone who was behind Ian kicking the free and they were confident it was a score as well,” said Horan.
Ryan, Johnny McCarthy, Seamus O’Carroll, Ger Collins, Brian Scanlon and Seanie Buckley all started that game and are still involved in the Billy Lee managed Limerick for Saturday.
“The tension was unbearable – I can remember the lads running into the umpires and there was just a feeling that day that we weren’t going to take no for an answer to anything.”
While the Ian Ryan free, his only one of the day, along with four points from play, was the winning score just before the dramatic winner was an equalising goal from sub Eoghan O’Connor.
“I remember everyone running out onto the pitch – even Mike O’Riordan was sprinting out!”
Horan recalled a pre-match speech from selector Joe Lee.
”He gave a motivational speed in the hotel beforehand and it touched a nerve with everyone – the hairs were standing on the back of the neck. We had beaten Offaly and Waterford and were going well but the papers hadn’t given us a chance – we felt disrespected. Wexford were going well under Jason Ryan but it was like people had forgotten our results from 2008, ‘09 and 2010,” recalled Horan.
“The qualifiers gave us some good days during my tenure with Limerick. It’s real off the cuff football and I hope they approach Saturday with that same attitude,” said the Mayo native, who now resides in Tralee.