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Aaron Gillane: 'The last 22 years Limerick teams couldn't win the league, that's nothing to do with us'

The Limerick forward is chasing more Croke Park glory this Sunday.

Aaron Gillane will be a key figure for Limerick in Sunday's Allianz hurling league final.
Aaron Gillane will be a key figure for Limerick in Sunday's Allianz hurling league final.
Image: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

IF LIMERICK SHOWED last summer that they are not a team burdened by the baggage of the county’s painful past experiences, then 2019 does not seem likely to see them deviate from that philosophy.

Their return to the top tier of the league was gratifying, an achievement from 2018 that was obscured by their championship heroics but significant nonetheless for those inside their dressing-room.

The spring has see them hit their stride with performances like the dismantling of Kilkenny in Nowlan Park and they have a final to prepare for on Sunday at the culmination of their league campaign.

It’s 13 years since Limerick graced league final day and minds must be cast back to 1997 for their most recent triumph but such loose talk of barren spells is of scant interest to Aaron Gillane, a forward who has lit up Limerick’s displays in recent weeks.

“Once people mention Limerick now, people think about years and time gaps and stuff. I think since John (Kiely) and Paul (Kinnerk) came in, I think this is their third year and we’re taking it as this is our team for the last three years.

“The last 22 years Limerick teams couldn’t win the league, that’s nothing to do with us. We’re kind of focusing on ourselves and making our own history.

“Look it we were in (Division) 1B for long enough. We wanted to get up to 1A and really test ourselves.

“As well as that we wanted to enjoy it and make sure we were able to play against the top teams before coming into the championship. (On) Sunday there’s a national title up for grabs, we’re taking it as a huge match anyway, I’m sure Waterford are the same.

“Ten years feels like a long time and if you’re lucky, you will get to play for ten years. Once you’re playing the years tick by fairly quickly. You want to win as much as you can while you’re playing.”

Limerick are picking from a full deck of players but have undergone an alteration in their backroom team of late. Caroline Currid, lauded for her work with several All-Ireland winning sides, has departed with former Galway hurler Tony Óg Regan entering the scene as their new performance coach.

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Tony Og Regan Tony Óg Regan in action for Galway in the 2012 All-Ireland final replay. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“Tony is great, he’s a nice man,” says Gilliane.

“I suppose what’s great about Tony is he’s not only there to talk to, but he has the whole experience of being there and done that as well. He’s really settled in and gets on with everyone.

“I think one thing that really stood out, he did a great job with the Galway footballers. Look these things, I know Tony is great and he’ll do a great job, these things are only the one and two per cent marginal things I suppose. We kind of stick to worrying about the hurling now and see what we can do on the field more so.

“Caroline was great too. Obviously we’ll miss her, she was with us I think two or three years. Same she got on with everyone and everyone had great time for her, she was a great outlet if anything was playing on your mind or if there was anything you wanted to talk about going out playing a big match.

“There was no point going out on the field being bundled up worrying about things so I suppose Caroline just enabled us to go out and play with freedom really.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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