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'I Love This Place So Much. What A Day For Limerick Fans'

17 July 2022; Gearóid Hegarty of Limerick celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Kilkenny and Limerick at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

By PJ Browne Updated

"Limerick three in a row, what does this mean to you today?" RTÉ's Damian Lawlor asked Gearoid Hegarty after his side defeated Kilkenny in an epic All-Ireland hurling final Sunday.

Hegarty, scorer of 1-5, gestured to the noise coming from the crowd.

"Absolutely incredible," said the 2020 Hurler of the Year.

"I think it's the first time we had a full crowd here in I don't know how long. That was some battle.

"We have so much respect for those Kilkenny boys. They have some of the best hurlers to ever play the game. We knew it was going to be as hard as it was.

"I love this place so much. What a day for Limerick fans.

"Listen to Delores (O'Riordan) here in Croke Park in front of the 82,500 people. It does not get any better than that. We put down a few hard months like we do every year in pre-season. We had a tough league. But it's all about today."

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Speaking to Sky Sports, Hegary added: "The Limerick crowd that's here today, it feels like there must be 50,000 or 60,000 Limerick people here today. It's absolutely incredible the support that we get. We don't take it for granted.

"We give everything that we can for each other on the field, mostly, but we know that we have such a massive support. In fairness, with 10 minutes to go, the game was in the melting pot. You turnover a ball there in the fullback line, and we come out and get a score. I think Conor [Boylan's] score, I remember a massive roar went up. You're running back into position and you can hardly hear yourself speak."

Hegarty said that he "can't wait" for the celebrations to start, and to get a few rounds of golf in before the summer ends. "Look at these two boys: They want to go golfing already!" he said, gesturing to two teammates off camera.

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"We'll have a good few days of celebrating. I can't wait to get going."

'Gearoid Hegarty was like a man playing on a different level'

Regarding Hegarty's performance, Donal Óg Cusack told RTÉ: "There was a feeling at times when I was watching Gearoid Hegarty in that second half that 'resistance is futile'. He was like a man playing on a different level in terms of his physicality, composure. He was getting plenty of it from Kilkenny fellas.

"I watched Nickie Quaid at one stage, and I thought from a goalkeeper's point of view, when the pressure was on... I watched Hegarty, and he made a dash one direction, came back, and Quaid didn't hit it laser-like as he [usually] would but the composure Hegarty had to flick the ball down in front of an oncoming Limerick player... He was outstanding."

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See Also: Donal Óg Cusack & Liam Sheedy Slam 'Ridiculous' Hurling Rule Before Final

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