Two superb points from Barry Murphy in Nowlan Park
"ARD phointe ar fad", they said on TG4 and it certainly was…..
Nine different Limerick players were involved before a Barry Murphy point put Limerick 14-points clear in Nowlan Park.
It was a score that had the inquisitive among us reaching for the history books. It wasn’t a concern by the final whistle but for the record, 13-points appears the biggest Kilkenny defeat under Brian Cody – the final margin was the ninth time during the 21 years of Cody’s reign that Kilkenny have lost a league game by more than six points.
Anyway, back to the score….
Thirty seconds of beauty – from defence to attack.
Funnily enough it all started with a rare stray puckout from Nickie Quaid!
The Effin man was wing back the last time the sides had met in the league (2010) and in this instance he was attempting to find Shane Dowling but the delivery was briefly intercepted.
But Dowling worked back inside the Limerick ‘45 to flick clear before James Maher gained full control of the sliothar. The Na Piarsaigh man nudged in the direction of Diarmaid Byrnes and the Patrickswell man returned with a handpass but Dowling again needed to be alert to flick into the path of Dan Morrissey.
Marauding corner back Tom Condon offered a support run and Morrissey off-loaded.
Then came an exchange with Conor Boylan and when Condon regained possession he was inside the attacking half. Darragh O’Donovan arrived on the shoulder of Condon and the Knockaderry timed his pass perfectly. O’Donovan to Graeme Mulcahy next and the final pass to Barry Murphy – Limerick 2-16, Kilkenny 0-8 and the stopwatch just short of 47-minutes.
Nine different players and seven handpasses – from defence to attack.
A willingness from all to work, strength from Boylan to hold off three tacklers, and power from O'Donovan and Mulcahy to break clear of challenges. On top of all that, clear intelligent lines of support running and an awareness of where the available space lay ahead.
Thirty seconds of beauty that perfectly demonstrate this one facet of the Limerick gameplan.
And, Limerick are far from one dimensional.
Minutes earlier, another Barry Murphy point was down to hard graft and no little skill to finish with aplomb from the left sideline.
That’s not to mention the direct-ball option. Time after time, Aaron Gillane was left isolated in front of goal and high or low, he caused panic in the Kilkenny rearguard.
Limerick had just nine of their All-Ireland final team on duty but the introduction of new faces was seamless – all fitting perfectly into the model and each well aware of their role within the team.
There are of course worries that Limerick are peaking too soon and a quick look back over recent seasons will show Tipperary and Galway in similar veins of form yet to fall short in the Summertime.
But without time travel, the future remains very much up for grabs and uncertain.
What we do know is that these are exciting times to be following Limerick hurling and the best advise would be to sit back and enjoy the ride. Too often, Limerick have looked in from the outside but right now they are front and centre in the hurling season and for all supporters of the green and white, it’s time to live in the present and enjoy this group of players.
Silverware is the reward that all grave but that shouldn’t mean supporters can’t enjoy the current high standard set by John Kiely’s men.