It felt like a coronation for Limerick after about 10 minutes of Sunday's All-Ireland final against Cork. In the end it was a 16-point hammering that somehow felt generous to Cork. Limerick are clearly the dominant power in hurling right now and to think if they hadn't been ambushed by Kilkenny in the 2019 All-Ireland semifinal, we might be talking about a four-in-a-row today. Three Liam MacCarthy's in four years still has a pretty good ring to it.
How did Limerick do it? They surpassed their own lofty standards in 2021, somehow managing to raise their performance level every game this season. And even when they faced adversity - such as when they trailed Tipp 2-16 to 0-12 at halftime of the Munster final - they always managed to find another gear
No team has ever hurled with the skill and precision of this team, but Limerick also possess unflappable mental fortitude. No Limerick team had ever won consecutive All-Ireland medals and in a post-match interview with Sky Sports, Limerick manager John Kiely singled out Limerick's sports psychologist Caroline Currid for praise in helping the team handle the immense pressure of being champions.
It goes back to the 2019 semifinal against Kilkenny.
It was all about this season, and maximising what we could do. We came into the season obviously as champions. In '19, we came into the semifinal, didn't quite find the performance across the 75 minutes against Kilkenny. This year we managed to carry the tag much, much better. We coped with it much better. And it's a great reflection on the work that Caroline has done with the players.
Caroline Currid: six-time All-Ireland winner
Currid is one of Ireland's most respected sports psychologists. She's worked with the likes of Paul O'Connell, as well as the Tyrone 2008 All-Ireland champions, the 2010 Tipp hurlers and the 2011 Dublin All-Ireland champions. She joined the Limerick backroom team during the 2017 Championship and has now won three All-Ireland's with the Treatymen.
Limerick captain Declan Hannon again praised Currid from the steps of the Hogan Standtoday, describing the work she does for Limerick as 'indescribable'.
Tom Morrissey told this website of Currid's influence before the 2020 All-Ireland final.
"There’s no secret that Caroline is very successful at what she does."
"She came in with us 2017, 2018 for an initial two-year stint.
"Her being involved with the set-up, it’s not a coincidence that we have been successful in the years she has been with us. She’s a top, top woman. She does have a big influence.
"She does maybe give us that edge that you need to be competitive at this level. As do many people involved in that management and backroom. We’re surrounded by a lot of top class people.
Interestingly, Currid was not part of the Limerick back room team when they lost the 2019 All-Ireland semifinal to Kilkenny.
Currid's brilliant work is often spoke of, but for those outside looking in, it can be hard to understand exactly what her genius exactly is. But Kiely gave us an insight in his postmatch interview. The challenge for Limerick this year was to stay hungry while everyone gunned for them. Currid clearly helped a young Limerick team remain focused on the goal of a second All-Ireland in a row.
Watch the whole interview with Kiely below.
🗣️"𝘼𝙣 𝙞𝙣𝙘𝙧𝙚𝙙𝙞𝙗𝙡𝙚 𝙖𝙘𝙝𝙞𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩"
🟢⚪️Limerick manager John Kiely hails his players after they claimed a third All-Ireland title in four years! pic.twitter.com/8NumR5koR4
— Sky Sports GAA (@SkySportsGAA) August 22, 2021