Kilkenny overpower Limerick to retain title
Kilkenny 2-19 Limerick 1-15: In an encounter where Kilkenny held all the aces, the defending champions were quickest out of the blocks and never looked back. Brian Cody's charges were imperious in pursuit of their 30th All-Ireland SHC title as they defeated Limerick in today's final at Croke Park.
The Cats have now lifted the Liam McCarthy Cup for the fifth time since 2000 under the stewardship of Cody, who afterwards said this was the most satisfying of them all.
"This will go down as one of our greatest ever wins," said the Kilkenny manager making specific reference to the team effort after two key injuries.
"To have lost Noel (Hickey) then find out at half-time the Henry Shefflin would play no further part would have killed any team, but not this team."
"Instead their absence only served as an inspiration to the rest of the team to go on and win it for the lads."
Kilkenny burst into action and quickly held a six point lead without reply just minutes after the throw-in. An ideal start which set up a dominant performance throughout the afternoon.
"Every team wants to get off to a great start in an All-Ireland final," added Cody. "We did and that meant Limerick were forced to play catch up. That said, we still had to re-jig things after we lost the two lads (Hickey and Shefflin)."
Kilkenny have now equalled Cork's record of 30 All-Ireland SHC titles, but truth be told, this final was too one-sided to truly capture the imagination in front of the 82,127 crowd.
The fast start came by way of two goal in the opening 10 minutes when Eddie Brennan and Henry Shefflin left Limerick flat-footed. Eoin Larkin then got in on the act before the Cats took a 2-10 to 0-8 half-time lead.
In the second period Ollie Moran crashed home a 47th-minute goal for the Shannonsiders but Kilkenny never took their eye from the task in hand.
"Hurling is all about character and thankfully we have character in abundance," Cody said afterwards.
He also heaped praise on their opponents. "Limerick have had a
phenomenal year, I know it won't feel like that now but they are a
top class hurling county and should still be very proud."