Limerick are All-Ireland champions for the third consecutive year, overcoming Kilkenny in a thriller at Croke Park this afternoon.
It was a thrilling game of hurling, one that ebbed and flowed in a number of different directions throughout the 70 or so minutes of action. John Kiely's side were the better of the two teams for the majority of the contest, although the Leinster champions kept themselves in the hunt with a couple of fantastic goals.
However, five Limerick points on the spin late in the game proved to be the decisive period, with this score from Gearóid Hegarty helping to drag his team over the line.
Gearóid Hegarty is an absolute animal 🤯pic.twitter.com/VDsEabx2XE
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) July 17, 2022
Kyle Hayes on Limerick's win over Kilkenny
As is often the case in these big games, the puck-outs turned out to be key in deciding the outcome. Limerick dominated in this regard in the first half, especially in winning their own ball.
Kilkenny managed to stem that tide somewhat after the interval, although the Munster side were still strong in this area. Kyle Hayes, Gearóid Hegarty, and Tom Morrissey all put in mammoth shifts in the middle third.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Kyle Hayes said that winning their own puck-outs was an area they concentrated on having disappointed in that regard in the semi-final against Galway.
It's unbelievable, I can't really describe it. Each one has been a rollercoaster.
This year we had a mediocre start with the league, but through each match we were improving. That's all we're looking for. This was the goal at the start of the year and we finally got here now...
There was probably a bit more emphasis on energy at the start of the puck-out. We were a bit lackadaisical two weeks ago against Galway, we weren't really happy with the return.
This week we put a massive emphasis on it, restarting quick and just energy on the puck-out...
I don't really know (what the celebrations will be like) to be honest. 2018 was the only one without covid, 2020 and last year were a bit subdued. I hope all of Limerick and our team will get to enjoy it for the week and relive it with the fans.
At the end of the day, that's what it's about. It's about them, our families, and ourselves then.
As Hayes points out, while this is Limerick's third All-Ireland on the trot, the last two were not celebrated in the manner that was deserved due to the pandemic.
You get the feeling that their players and supporters will be making up for lost time in the days ahead.