THE INCLEMENT weather did not dampen the spirits of loyal hurling fans, as the Limerick under 21 squad showed off their coveted All-Ireland silverware at City Hall this Sunday evening.
As strong gales swept through the streets with a yellow weather warning in the air, fans from every corner of the county still flocked to Merchant’s Quay at 5pm — an hour before the local hurling heroes would arrive for their homecoming.
And lifting the James Nowlan cup for the first time in front of an ecstatic crowd, captain Tom Morrissey said that it was an “unreal feeling to lead the county” in the All-Ireland victory.
“This is definitely one to remember, and representing these boys going up to accept the trophy is something special to remember,” he said, as he thanked the supporters who “made it a very special day”.
Welcoming home the newly-crowned champions, Mayor of Limerick Cllr Stephen Keary thanked the hurlers “for all your hard work and dedication and gladdening the hearts” of their supporters.
During his speech, Mayor Keary commended manager Pat Donnelly and captain Tom Morrissey for “proving that dreams really do come true”.
“The match was played at a fantastic pace and great spirit over the 60 minutes or so. In reality however, I think anyone involved with sport at the highest level will know that success does not happen overnight.”
“Instead, it is the result of years of hard work and planning that begins with the youngest members of any club being nurtured and encouraged to fulfil their potential,” he enthused. And looking to future, Patrickswell man Cian Lynch said that bringing the Liam McCarthy back to Limerick is the next goal.
“This is about going up, pushing on, driving it together and bring the Liam McCarthy back here because 1973 is too long ago. It’s time to drive it on,” he said, which prompted tremendous cheers and applause from the crowd.
Commending his men, proud manager Pat Donnelly said: “If these lads keep their feet in the ground, keep their heads right , they will definitely go on to play senior hurling for Limerick.”
To mark the successful chapter in Limerick sport, singer-songwriter Denis Allen serenaded the masses with the old gem Limerick You’re a Lady.
For reports, photographs and reaction see this week's Limerick Leader print editions.