Opinion: Croke Park final ideal chance for Limerick hurling fans - Jerome O'Connell

Jerome O'Connell

Reporter:

Jerome O'Connell

Email:

joconnell@limerickleader.ie

Opinion: Croke Park final ideal chance for Limerick hurling fans - Jerome O'Connell

WOW the last seven months have really flown, but it’s great to be Croke Park bound again.

Great to heading back to GAA Headquarters with memories of Declan Hannon holding the Liam MacCarthy Cup aloft still fresh in the memory.

Well at least I think it’s great...

It is impossible to please all and of course there are those among us that will argue the day of the week, but it’s Limerick in Croke Park, playing for silverware, so I need no convincing.

How many years have we yearned to get to Croke Park and yet I hear people question why GAA HQ is the venue for Sunday’s Allianz Hurling League final between Limerick and Waterford.

I know there is an expense, I know it’s Mother’s Day and I know there are other sporting events this weekend, but Sunday will be just the sixth time in 10 years that the Limerick senior hurlers have played in Croke Park. Quite simply, the more times that Limerick teams get to the Dublin venue, the better.

It’s where all GAA players want to be and especially when it’s a national final – the secondary trophy on offer in any year.

Of course, Thurles would be “handy”, but Croke Park is special.

Sunday will be just the third time in 20 years that the hurling league final will take place in Croke Park – Dublin beating Kilkenny in the last such final in 2011 with Limerickman Maurice O’Brien in their ranks.

As a stand-alone fixture Limerick in an Allianz Hurling League final is attractive – remember it’s 22 years since the title was last won.

Either side of the hurling decider are the Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League and Allianz Football League finals.

All that for €30 and just €5 for children U-16. There are also offers for clubs to bring underage teams at a reasonable price.

What an opportunity to go to Croke Park without paying the €80 of All-Ireland final day and the comfort of being able to purchase tickets side-by-side.

There was much drama across Limerick last August about the shortage of tickets, well there is no shortage on Sunday and it’s less than half the price.

It’s an ideal opportunity for families in particular – stand alone All-Ireland semi finals are feasible for families but many would have loved to bring their sons and daughters to Dublin on August 19 last but couldn’t. Sunday is their chance to see Limerick back in Croker and hopefully lifting silverware.

Sunday will be the eighth game of the league campaign and the 10th of the 2019 season. The support has been great, especially with just two of the eight league games in the Gaelic Grounds.

After this weekend, Limerick are guaranteed just another four games this season and there will be a break from inter-county action for the next seven weeks before the Munster SHC starts on May 19.

Sunday is Limerick’s first league final appearance in 13 and should not be under estimated. Yes, championship is where it is at, but many a hurler than wore the green and white would love to have a league title on their CV – Limerick have won just 11 league titles and only five in the last 72 years.

Aside from Kilkenny on four occasions (2003, '09, ‘12 and '13) , Galway back in 1989 were the last county to win the Division One league title the Spring after they were crowned All-Ireland SHC winners. So there is much merit in the silverware on offer in Croke Park on Sunday.

So much to look forward to, and for those still not convinced all three games are live on TG4.