Kilkenny suffered a heavy loss at the hands of the Treaty men in the Allianz Hurling League Final on Sunday in Páirc Uí Chaoimh
The two teams who met in last year’s All-Ireland decider renewed rivalries again on Sunday in the Division 1 hurling league final. Kilkenny had come into the game off the back of four straight wins to set up the titanic clash. Limerick came into the game as roaring hot favourites, but some of the Kilkenny folk were optimistic that the cats could get a result on the day.
Those thought seems to be increased with the news that Limerick were missing four All-Stars from last year’s winning team, Will O’Donoghue (suspended), Tom Morrissey (sub), Kyle Hayes and Declan Hannon (flu) would not start.
Kilkenny started really well, racing into a three-point lead and in truth it should have been more having also hit four scoreable wides as well. It took Limerick eight minutes to get their first score on the board. Most of Limerick’s scores in the first half came from the stick of Aaron Gillane as the Kilkenny’s indiscipline at the back was allowing the Patrickswell man to slot over frees. A touch of brilliance from the All-Ireland champions came in the 17th minute when Aaron Gillane beat the Kilkenny defence to catch a high ball, he scooped the pass to Barry Nash who blasted to the net. The treaty men led 1-13 to 0-10 at the break.
The second half didn’t get much better for the stripey men. As much as they tried they found scores hard to come by and they couldn’t breach Limerick’s lead. Trailing by six points by the 56th-minute things were to get worse for Kilkenny through some brilliance from Limerick.
Captain Cian Lynch got a ball just inside the Kilkenny sixty-five metre line, and with pinpoint accuracy he gave a pass into the hand of Seamus Flanagan, Flanagan went on a run towards goal, and he passed the ball across to Gillane who was waiting in front of goal and without hesitation or even thinking he instinctively volleyed the ball passed a helpless Eoin Murphy in the Kilkenny goal, that score put Limerick nine points to the good and its a lead they would build on and not relinquish the lead. It was a 14th league title for the Treaty men and it showed how dominant the team still are.
Speaking after the game, Kilkenny manager Derek Lyng told KCLR “I thought we were competitive for the first 15 minutes, once Limerick got the goal I thought we’d probably struggle for a spell after that. Second half I thought we started reasonably well, we coughed up a few scores, we had one or two chances we didn’t take and they [Limerick] just punish you, we made too many mistakes our handling wasn’t good at times”.
“I thought we were under pressure coming out with the ball and when your hesitant coming out against a team like Limerick they’ll bury you and that’s what happened. Limerick are top class at creating space, they have phenomenal hurlers all over the pitch, they have a system and they understand it, they’re able to slot players who can play the system and understand it”.
“For ourselves, it’s about what we take from today, we have to learn from it. It’s of use if we can build on it and keep working on things, obviously, it broke down a lot today and we have a bit of work to do before our Championship”.
“Today was a sobering experience for everybody, we have to strip everything back and that’s what we’ll do, I think a lot of the things that we weren’t good at today I still think we can be better, we can improve on it but that doesn’t happen overnight but we’ll keep working”.
“I wanted to be here, players wanted to be here. We probably started off the league – I thought we were shaky enough at the start – but I think we improved as the league went on. I prefer to be playing the best team in the country, that’s obviously what happened today, it wasn’t a good experience, we know we weren’t good enough, but for me, I’d rather be testing myself against the best and to try and learn from it and build on it and that’s what we’re going to do and if we can to that, then it was a worthwhile experience”.
You can listen to Derek’s full interview at the link below