Hannon: Hurt drove Limerick on
Limerick captain Declan Hannon believes the pain of recent near-misses inspired his side’s surprise, promotion-clinching win over Galway.
The Treaty men battled back from an eight-point half-time deficit to seal a return to the top tier for the first time since 2010.
“It looked unlikely after the first half and the start,” Hannon told RTÉ Sport.
“It took us a while to get used to Galway’s intensity. That’s why they’re All-Ireland champions. They bring a serious work-rate to it.
“We didn’t panic at half-time. We kept plugging away. We weren’t happy with the first half but in the second half we did ourselves proud.
“We’ve had enough hurt over the years. It drove us on that extra bit.
“Today is a good day for Limerick hurling.”
Limerick beat reigning All-Ireland Champions Galway in the Allianz Hurling League! See the Full-Time Highlights here on GAANOW! pic.twitter.com/Q1zs7IvDMy
— The GAA (@officialgaa) March 11, 2018
It marks the first major success for manager John Kiely in his second year in charge.
“I’m very pleased with the attitude of the players. They’ve worked hard for the last 18 months,” he said.
“It’s a nice step they’ve taken and something they’ll look forward to now next Spring, to be involved in Division 1A.
“It was a game of two halves. We let a lot of opportunities go in the first half, we had 12 wides.
“We just asked the lads to keep at it, keep working and chipping away score by score and see if we could bring the lead down and really attack it. That’s the way it panned out.
“We’ll refocus quickly now and move on to the quarter-final next weekend. We’re playing Clare and those battles are always tough competitive games.”
Galway boss Micheál O’Donoghue admitted his unhappiness at throwing away a big lead but was glad to still have a quarter-final against Wexford to sharpen his team’s fitness ahead of their upcoming All-Ireland title defence.
The Tribesmen will play in 1B for a third year in a row next term but proved last year that both the League and Championship could be won from the second tier.
“We’re disappointed to have lost today,” said O’Donoghue. “We had a good start and picked off scores but unfortunately they dried up for us in the second half.
“But a lot of credit goes to Limerick. The intensity levels in the second half rose. They enforced themselves on us and were worthy winners.
“The second half illustrated we’re still a bit behind in terms of our preparation but the pluses are we got Davy (Burke) and Joe (Canning) back on the pitch and hopefully by next weekend we’ll have a few of the boys who were injured back as well.
“The league is important and there was a big prize to get back to Division 1A but we just want the League to get us close to the championship.
“We’ll just get ready and go again next weekend.”