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Limerick hurling on the rise, Gillane’s impressive scoring form and disappointing Kilkenny challenge

5 talking points after Limerick saw off Kilkenny to seal the All-Ireland U21 crown.

1. Future is bright in Limerick

TWO ALL-IRELAND U21 victories since 2015 indicates Limerick hurling is in good health.

Jason Cleere and Peter Casey Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

The Shannonsiders backed up their easy win over Wexford two years ago with another convincing success over Kilkenny in Semple Stadium this afternoon.

Sean Finn, Ronan Lynch, Colin Ryan, Cian Lynch, Barry Nash, Tom Morrissey and Peter Casey all picked up a second All-Ireland medal at this grade today and look destined for a promising career at senior level.

Eight of the squad have already played senior and John Kiely will look to them to play a greater role in 2018.

2. Kilkenny’s challenge never gets off the ground

Kilkenny left themselves with an astronomical workload after the first 15 minutes, where they fell behind by six points. The underdogs needed a bright start to give them hope but they were fighting a losing battle from the early stages.

Eddie Brennan’s men lacked a goal threat as Kyle Hayes and Ronan Lynch cleaned up in front of the Kilkenny full-forwards.

Some poor Limerick shooting allowed Kilkenny a chink of hope when they got back to within four points in the 54th minute, but Limerick clicked through the gears and eased home.

Michael Cody and Peter Casey Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

3. Revenge for Limerick after 2014 disappointment

The Shannonsiders arrived into the 2014 minor final against Kilkenny as favourites, after blowing their way past Tipperary, Cork and Waterford in Munster.

They accounted for Galway in the semi-final with a spellbinding attacking display which yielded 1-27, but a brace of goals from John Walsh handed Kilkenny a 2-17 to 0-19 final victory.

Limerick had 11 players on show today who featured in the 2014 minor final, while Kilkenny had 12. For the Shannonsiders, it was a day where they laid those demons of Croke Park three years ago to bed.

4. Aaron Gillane in fine scoring form

Patrickswell youngster Aaron Gillane finished off the U21 campaign in the same vein of form he’s been enjoying all summer.

Gillane hit 0-7 from full-forward, including five from play, on his way to picking up man-of-the-match honours.

Physically imposing and strong in the air, he proved an excellent target man inside for the winners. Gillane finished the U21 season as the top-scorer, with a dazzling 0-44 to his name in five games.

Cian Lynch Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

5. Alan Murphy’s second-half cameo

Alan Murphy was summoned off the bench by Eddie Brennan in the 24th minute and he made quite the impact for the Cats.

When Shane Walsh was withdrawn 10 minutes after the restart, Murphy took over free-taking duties and duly began to reel Limerick in.

He hit five impressive scores in the final 20 minutes and breathed confidence into his team-mates as they fought back into the game. Murphy was a rare bright spark in a poor day for Kilkenny.

Limerick exact sweet revenge on Cats to lift U21 crown 3 years after minor defeat

Kerry land 8th All-Ireland U21 B hurling crown with win over Wicklow

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