In its city and its environs, Limerick has a population of 105,000. Between its five main stadia, there is capacity to hold every man, woman and child in its metropolitan area. Is it any wonder, then, that the Treaty City considers itself the sporting capital of Ireland?
Such a claim, along with the county's wider sporting culture, will be explored in A City’s Love Affair - a radio documentary which will air at 7am this Saturday on Newstalk (repeated at 11pm).
Produced by Eric Moylan and narrated by Limerick's fighting pride, former WBO World middleweight champion Andy Lee, A City's Love Affair will be broadcast as part of Newstalk's Winter Documentary Series, and will feature interviews with Munster and Ireland rugby player Keith Earls, Ireland women's rugby captain and community guard Niamh Briggs, Rio hopefuls Chris Bryan (swimmer) and Jessie Barr (hurdler), Senior inter-county hurling manager TJ Ryan and player Gavin O’Mahony, and businessman JP McManus, among others.
The promo whets the appetite considerably for what sounds like a fascinating insight to Limerick's relationship with sport.
JP McManus explains in the documentary how, even while he was a major shareholder at Manchester United, a defeat for the club paled in comparison to the despair he'd feel watching Limerick beaten in the GAA:
It’s no comparison...It didn’t bother me [seeing United lose]. I wouldn’t think of it the next morning, oh, Man United had a bad game yesterday. But I’m afraid if Limerick got beaten you would feel the pain of it for a while afterwards.
Flying Munster outside back Keith Earls, meanwhile, who comically reveals within the documentary that he hopped the wall into Thomond Park to watch 2003's 'Miracle Match' with Gloucester, speaks of his pride at being a professional sportsperson on Shannonside:
I’m quite blessed to play for one of the best teams in Europe, if not the world, and live at home.
Of course, there's no better man to narrate proceedings than middleweight contender Andy Lee, who received such a hero's welcome back to his hometown when he arrived back from Vegas with the WBO World middleweight strap.
Set your alarms for either 7am on Saturday morning or 11pm that night for what promises to be a tremendous delve into the self-proclaimed (and some would say undisputed) sporting capital of Ireland. We're looking forward to it.