'We felt that we were second-class citizens when it came to hurling. We were always the bridesmaids'

Limerick manager John Kiely praises his team’s work-rate and courage under fire.

The agony and the ecstasy: Michael Donoghue embraces John Kiely at the final whistle.
The agony and the ecstasy: Michael Donoghue embraces John Kiely at the final whistle.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

LIMERICK FELT LIKE ‘second-class citizens’ during their long, barren years in the hurling wilderness.

They’ll enjoy this one.

“This group has phenomenal belief in its own ability, its own resolve, and that never-say-die attitude,” Treaty boss John Kiely told RTÉ.

“We’ve worked so, so hard and Galway pushed us all the way in that last 10 or 15 minutes. It was really difficult on the lads to hold their nerves and find those last vital scores but they did.

“We felt over the last 45 years that we were always second-class citizens when it came to hurling, we were always the bridesmaids, and today we got over the line. I’m just so happy for everybody here in this stadium and at home in Limerick.”

Goals from Graeme Mulcahy, Tom Morrissey and Shane Dowling helped Kiely’s side dethrone reigning champions Galway and bridge a 45-year gap to the county’s last success in 1973.

Dowling’s goal two minutes from time put Limerick into what appeared to be an unassailable eight-point lead, but Galway hit two goals of their own in additional time to set up a frantic finale.

“They just don’t know what it is to give up,” Kiely said of his team’s resolve.

“They keep going, keep going, and never say die. It was really difficult there in the last few minutes and they still found a way to do it. There’s no substitute for hard work, that’s the bottom line.”

How did those final minutes feel, with Galway seemingly closing on them with every puck of the ball?

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“Horrendous, absolutely horrendous, but is that what you have to do to get what we have now? We’ll take it.”

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Niall Kelly

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