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League final Sunday with silverware up for grabs, a novel pairing and the potential for a cracker in Croke Park — what’s not to love?

Welcome along to our live coverage of the 2018 Allianz Hurling League final, as Limerick and Waterford go head-to-head in Croke Park. Throw-in is at 2pm and we’ll be keeping a close eye on all the action here, but you can also watch it live on TG4.

They’re no strangers in Munster but it’s a first-ever league final meeting for the Treaty and the Déise. 2018 All-Ireland champions Limerick appear in their first final since 2006 — but they haven’t lifted the Dr Croke Cup since 1997.

Waterford, meanwhile, took the crown in 2015 and lost out to Clare after a replay the following year. A second outing won’t be the case this time around however, with a penalty shootout on the cards if it ends level after extra-time.

This has the makings of a good one, that’s for sure.

Before all else, some team news… we’ll update you on any late changes but this is how John Kiely and Páraic Fanning’s sides are named to start.

Limerick

1. Nicky Quaid (Effin)

2. Tom Condon (Knockaderry)
3. Sean Finn (Bruff)
4. Richie English (Doon)

5. Diarmuid Byrnes (Patrickswell)
6. Declan Hannon (Adare) (captain)
7. Dan Morrissey (Ahane)

8. Cian Lynch (Patrickswell)
9. Darragh O’Donovan (Doon)

10. Gearoid Hegarty (St. Patrick’s)
11. Kyle Hayes (Kildimo/Pallaskenry)
12. Tom Morrissey (Ahane)

13. Aaron Gillane (Patrickswell)
14. Peter Casey (Na Piarsaigh)
15. Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock).

Waterford

1. Stephen O’Keeffe (Ballygunner)

2. Shane McNulty (De La Salle)
3. Callum Lyons (Ballyduff Lower)
4. Noel Connors (Passage) (captain)

5. Philip Mahony (Ballygunner)
6. Tadhg De Búrca (Clashmore-Kinsalebeg)
7. Kevin Moran (De La Salle)

8. Jamie Barron (Fourmilewater)
9. Austin Gleeson (Mount Sion)

10. Mikey Kearney (Ballyduff Upper)
11. Michael Walsh (Stradbally)
12. Pauric Mahony (Ballygunner)

13. Peter Hogan (Ballygunner)
14. Stephen Bennett (Ballysaggart)
15. Shane Bennett (Ballysaggart).

Declan Hannon lifts the Liam MacCarthy Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Will there be similar scenes at HQ today?

All-Ireland winning captain Declan Hannon returns to the Limerick team as their only personnel change.

For Waterford, Brick Walsh starts at centre forward in this, his 17th season of inter-county action, while Peter Hogan’s inclusion is the other switch from their last outing.

This is part of a triple-header of course, with Galway coming out on top in the camogie final after ending Kilkenny’s bid for five in-a-row.

We’ll have a full report of that on The42 shortly, with Kerry and Mayo also meeting in the Division 1 football decider at 4pm.

galway Source: The42.ie GAA Twitter.

Sarah Dervan lifts the trophy Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

1Mins

Throw-in: And like that, we’re off.

3Mins

Limerick 0-0 Waterford 0-0

The Déise won the toss and opted to play into Hill 16. We’ve started fast at HQ, with early scoring chances for both sides but nothing coming of the efforts. One wide a-piece.

4Mins

Limerick 0-2 Waterford 0-0

Aaron Gillane’s free gets the Treaty up and running, before 2018 Hurler of the Year Cian Lynch adds a second from play seconds later.

6Mins

Limerick 0-3 Waterford 0-2

Stephen Bennett makes no mistake and opens Waterford’s account with an easy free before the posts. He follows that up with another from play to level it but Gearóid Hegarty restore’s Limerick’s lead at the other end. It’s all go.

8Mins

Limerick 0-5 Waterford 0-2

Wonderful save from O’Keeffe, but Gillane slots over a free and another from play to put Limerick into a 0-5 to 0-2 lead.

13Mins

Limerick 0-8 Waterford 0-2

Darragh O’Donovan fires over a lovely sideline cut, while Gearoid Hegarty and Gillane tag on two more from play. Some brilliant work from Kyle Hayes in between there and Limerick are motoring.

There was a slight bit of worry there for Limerick fans with Gillane down holding his arm before that. He’s all good though, evidently, and I’m sure hoping to capitalise on his bright start.

14Mins

Limerick 0-8 Waterford 0-3

As Kiely’s side power on, Bennett hits back with a free. Waterford look to stay in touch.

15Mins

Limerick 0-8 Waterford 0-4

Kevin Moran grabs another back. He splits the posts with a nice finish.

18Mins

Limerick 0-8 Waterford 0-5

It was all Limerick there for a period, the All-Ireland champions really coming into their own with plenty of momentum behind them. Waterford are fighting back now and it’s that man Bennett with another lovely point from play.

21Mins

Limerick 0-8 Waterford 0-6

Bennett with another fairly straight-forward free and the gap is two. Brick Walsh is doing great stuff around the middle — he started there rather than in the forwards — and Ballygunner’s Pauric Mahony is going well too.

22Mins

Referee is James Owens, by the way, for those asking in the comments section.

24Mins

Limerick 0-9 Waterford 0-7

Peter Casey swings over a beauty for the Treaty, before Nicky Quaid is forced to pull out a top drawer save at the other end. Bennett taps over a free.

26Mins

Limerick 0-9 Waterford 0-8

Waterford seem to be hitting a purple patch, driving forward and creating chances. Tom Condon is shown the first yellow card of the match for a heavy charging shoulder on Mikey Kearney. Bennett fires over the tree.

26Mins

GOAL! Limerick 1-9 Waterford 0-8

27Mins

That goal was something else! A flick of Aaron Gillane’s hurley on the end of a long ball has it in the back of the net.

30Mins

Limerick 1-9 Waterford 0-9

Waterford pull one back. That goal has come at the perfect time to spark Limerick back to life, it must be said, stopping Waterford right in their tracks as they really got back into the contest.

32Mins

Limerick 1-9 Waterford 0-10

Mahony tags on another. Good response. More brilliant work from him.

34Mins

Limerick 1-11 Waterford 0-10

Gillane steps up with an inspirational effort from play. He’s been brilliant for Limerick. Tom Morrissey follows suit with another huge point as they bid to finish strong before the break.

35Mins

Limerick 1-12 Waterford 0-10

Mulcahy with another. Some superb point-taking from the Shannonsiders, with Lynch working really hard around the middle. Two minutes to be added on.

36Mins

Gearoid Hegarty was down getting treatment there but he’s up on his feet again and looks okay. He’s had to go to the sideline but will surely be re-introduced.

38Mins

Just Stephen Bennett and Pauric Mahony have scored from play for Waterford, while five of the six Limerick forwards have done so. Aaron Gillane has been immense for Limerick, scoring 1-5.

40Mins

kev Source: Kevin O'Brien Twitter.

Kevin O’Brien and our GAA Editor Fintan O’Toole are both working from Croke Park today. They’ll have plenty of reports, analysis and reaction from both the hurling and the football. 

40Mins

Second half: We’re off again. Sloppy start as both sides look to get going.

38Mins

Limerick 1-13 Waterford 0-10

Limerick pick off where they left off and that man Gillane slots over a free. There was great work from Mulcahy in the build-up to draw that one, with Mahony seeing yellow for his foul.

38Mins

A change each at half time also:

Condon off, Mike Casey in for Limerick

Walsh off, Jack Prendergast in for Waterford

38Mins

Limerick 1-14 Waterford 0-11

The sides trade scores, with Peter Casey notching a lovely point for Limerick.

43Mins

Limerick 1-15 Waterford 0-11

Gillane brings his tally to 1-7 with a handy free. That said, he missed another just before while a Bennett free at the other end also went wayward.

45Mins

Limerick 1-16 Waterford 0-11

While Declan Hannon has been doing great work in the backs, the 2018 All-Ireland-winning captain just popped up with a monstrous effort to put Limerick into an eight-point lead.

47Mins

Limerick 1-16 Waterford 0-12

Mahony fires over a free for the Déise. He’s been brilliant but perhaps they’ve been too dependent on him. Tommy Ryan replaces Shane Bennett.

Limerick have scored 17 of their 30 chances before the posts while Waterford have converted 12 of their 20.

48Mins

Limerick 1-16 Waterford 0-14

It’s been a quiet day by his standards, but Austin Gleeson has just stepped up with a huge score to lift his troops. The confidence to fire over from that angle and distance seems to have inspired with Philip Mahony producing another massive effort.

Conor Prunty has come in for Calum Lyons.

49Mins

Waterford have lifted their game, and it seems like the perfect time as their fans get behind them and the cheers ring around Croker. Five in it now, but sure that’s not a whole pile in hurling as we all know…

51Mins

Limerick 1-18 Waterford 0-14

When they need him most… he delivers. 

Gillane steadies the Limerick ship with two quick-fire points from play. The first one was a real beauty: he plucked the ball from the sky, turned brilliantly and sent it over the Hill 16 end posts from an acute angle.

54Mins

Limerick 1-18 Waterford 0-15

A real goal chance there, but Stephen Bennett’s powerful effort goes just over the bar.

57Mins

And another potential goal chance at the other end… More cleverness from Gillane, who brilliantly gathers a long ball, shortens his grip on the hurley to find Morrissey in a good position… but the sliotar goes just through his fingertips and over the end line.

58Mins

Limerick have scored 19 of their 37 chances, 15 of 28 for Waterford.

59Mins

Limerick 1-18 Waterford 0-16

Another Pauric Mahony free narrows the difference to five with just over 10 minutes to play.

Stephen Roche is in for Mikey Kearney.

62Mins

Limerick 1-19 Waterford 0-16 

Substitute Seamus Flanagan chips in with a brilliant point from play into the Hill end. The Limerick crowd loved that one! Limerick seem fairly home and hosed at this stage, but you never know…

64Mins

Limerick 1-19 Waterford 0-17

Doon’s Richie English takes a knock, but after some attention from the medical team, he’s flying it again. Mahony clips over another free, while Barry Murphy replaces Gillane – Limerick’s main man gets a nice reception on his way off.

68Mins

Limerick 1-21 Waterford 0-17

Gillane did put on a superb show but looked to be struggling slightly towards the end of his run-out, as he missed a few frees. Substitute Shane Dowling steps up in his absence and slots over, before he grabs another from play. Talk about impact….

68Mins

Limerick 1-21 Waterford 0-18

Mahony taps over another free, after Mike Casey sees yellow. Beforehand, Waterford charged in on goal and looked dangerous but Limerick kept them out.

Padddy O’Loughlin comes in for Hannon at the other end, who also gets a warm reception after a good shift.

71Mins

Limerick 1-23 Waterford 0-18

The Déise are just about hanging on here. Hegarty with Limerick’s latest offering, and it’s a remarkable one handed score with the back to goal to finish off a lovely team move involving O’Donovan and Casey.

Aaron Gillane has been announced as Man of the Match and there’s four extra minutes to be played.

74Mins

Limerick 1-24 Waterford 0-18

Brilliant, brilliant score from Cian Lynch, set up by Peter Casey up for a beautiful point – perhaps the score of the day. Limerick one away from a double-figure win…

74Mins

Limerick 1-24 Waterford 0-19

They’ll have to settle for eight though as Bennett slots over, and that’s that.

74Mins

Another long drought ended by Limerick.

They’ve brought the curtain down on a 22-year wait for league glory.

78Mins

A few words from Gillane and Hegarty on the pitch: they’re obviously delighted to have won it, but the word championship is mentioned more than once.

Hannon lifts the silver and gives a lovely acceptance speech from the steps of the Hogan Stand once again. The Cranberries’ Dreams blares out around the grounds after he finishes up and that’s that… job well done.

That’s all from me. We’ll have a full match report on The42 in the coming minutes with plenty of reaction and analysis to come later.

Focus switches to the football showdown between Kerry and Mayo now, and you can follow that on our liveblog here. After the camogie and the hurling, there’s one title going back to Connacht and one to Munster. Who’ll make it 2-1 by the end of the day?

Thanks a lot for tuning in. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

Subscribe to our new podcast, The42 Rugby Weekly, here:

About the author:

Emma Duffy

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