Kilkenny captain Cillian Buckley lifts the Allianz Hurling League trophy
LAST September in Semple Stadium, Limerick won a second All Ireland U-21 hurling title in three years with a final win over Kilkenny.
A total of 14 of that winning panel are now part of John Kiely’s 36-man Limerick senior panel ahead of the Munster SHC.
In front of 15,485 supporters, Limerick swept aside Kilkenny in that U-21 final, winning pretty much every individual duel across the field.
Last Sunday, Brian Cody’s Kilkenny won the Allianz Hurling League title with a impressive final win over Tipperary. Five of last September’s U-21 panel were in the starting line-up with another two introduced as substitutes.
Interestingly, Kilkenny do remain behind Galway and Tipperary in the betting for the All Ireland. The Cats are available at 4/1. Limerick are priced up at 14/1 – the last of the Munster counties.
So no U-21 silverware for the young Cats but already senior silverware for Cody’s new generation.
Kilkenny dismantled Tipperary with some ease in the league final. That was a Tipperary side that saw off Limerick after a semi final extra time epic – seven 2017 U-21s started for the men in green in that semi final, while another two were used as subs.
The word transition has been widely used when referencing Kilkenny in 2018.
Yes there are new faces aplenty in the black and amber but seven from the league final win played in their 2015 All Ireland final win. And, still to come into their line-up are another four from that team. So only four from their last Liam MacCarthy Cup winning team are no longer involved.
There are three All Star winners in the Limerick panel at present and the record books have to go back 20 years to reach ten.
In total there are 10 All Star hurlers in Brian Cody’s panel – six started the league final and four were unavailable; Richie Hogan, Colin Fennelly, Ger Aylward and Paul Murphy.
Now that’s the type of transitional period we would love in Limerick!