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Dublin: 17 °C Thursday 18 July, 2019

'You can see Limerick are dying for silverware...We've bigger and better things ahead'

Cian Lynch, Aaron Gillane and Colin Ryan were speaking after Limerick’s U21 Munster final win over Cork.

Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

AARON GILLANE STOOD over a highly pressurised Limerick free in the 57th minute against a strong breeze.

The Shannonsiders hadn’t scored for the previous 20 minutes and Cork had managed to whittle a seven-point deficit down to two.

Gillane, who hit 0-14 in the semi-final, missed his two previous placed balls, but managed to split the posts on this occasion. Four minutes later, he added another and Limerick held out.

“I’d myself convinced I was going to miss a few of them like,” he said after the game.

“The wind in my face as well, thank God they went over. I try not to think about them that much. The fist pump was relief more than anything.”

Gillane converted six frees in total to pick up his second Munster U21 medal – he was an unused substitute for the victory over Clare two years ago.

“We won one in 2015, I was only a sub but when you’re playing it’s some feeling. It makes some difference.”

Lorcan Lyons, /Eoghan McNamara, Paudie Ahern and Brian Ryan celebrates after the game Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Kyle Hayes, deployed at centre-back, and did a good job of protecting his full-back line particularly as a sweeper in the second period.

Ronan Lynch, man-of-the-match Cian Lynch, Colin Ryan, Robbie Hanley and Tom Morrissey were other survivors who started the 2015 victory, while Sean Finn featured off the bench two years ago.

That team went on to lift the All-Ireland title, and Pat Donnelly’s current squad are the frontrunners to do the same later this summer.

It bodes well for the future of Limerick hurling as a talented crop emerges. But the Shannonsiders won three All-Irelands in-a-row at this grade between 2000 and 2002 and reached just one final at senior level – the 2007 mauling by Kilkenny.

“We saw Limerick teams in the early 2000s they won three U21s and still they haven’t won an All-Ireland yet,” said Cian Lynch.

“But look, we’ll take everything as it comes we won’t look too far ahead. We’ll enjoy today and we’re playing Galway in the next round so we’ll have to look forward to that.

“You can see Limerick are dying for silverware. 2015 when we won the U21 Munster final, they don’t come around too often here in the county. You look around and see crowds of people and the youngsters, that’s what it’s all about.

Patrick Collins attempts to stop a point Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“The future of Limerick is the kids and we need to appreciate what we have and enjoy it. We know going forward we’ve bigger and better things ahead.”

Limerick defeated Tipperary, Clare and Cork en-route to this Munster crown, and the Tribesmen in the semi-final will pose another stern test of their credentials.

“Yeah it’s a very tough route,” added Ryan. “In 2015 we had the hardest route to get to the final and that’s what you have to do. You have to beat all these top teams to win an All-Ireland.

“You don’t get an easy All-Ireland. It’s great to be all the top teams. We’ll enjoy tonight but we’ve Galway in the semi-final next month so we’ll look forward to that.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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