As Limerick attempt to make history, the 2010 championship team is a footnote
After winter’s discord tore the county apart, they still had to cobble together a panel for the summer
“I was a long time in Limerick,” he says. “I was doing a masters in Limerick at the time and I was good friends with Niall Moran. So instead of going home for training I would train up in Limerick with them. So then eventually, I said I’d fall in with them for a year or two. I got a phonecall to go in for a trial and that was it really.”
Full-forward Anthony Owens was a Garda from Kilkenny who’d been playing with South Liberties. Shaun O’Riordan was a Corkman by birth and a Newtownshandrum player at the time but his family were all Limerick people and he has since transferred to Bruree. Still, it lent the day a pretty bleak irony when he had the Newtownshandrum trio of Cathal Naughton and the O’Connor twins zipping past him against Cork that summer.
They fielded nine debutants that day in Páirc Uí Chaoimh and added four more off the bench as the game progressed.
As it happened, they hung in there reasonably well in the first half until two gut punches in the run-up to the break left them winded and spent. First wing-forward Paudie McNamara had a penalty saved by Donal Óg Cusack and soon after the other wing-forward Seán Herlihy was given the line for a swipe at Shane Murphy.
Instead of inching to within a puck of a ball of Cork, they went in at half-time seven points down and playing with 14 men. In the end Cork ran out winners by 2-19 to 0-12, a result and a game that suited nobody but had to be got out of the way all the same. Three weeks later, they played Offaly in Tullamore and ran them much closer, only going down 1-18 to 1-13 in the end. But come the second Sunday in July they were done. And for 18 of the 24, it was the end of the Limerick career.
“Anybody who was involved with a county team would like to think that they made a contribution and that they’ve helped the development of some of the players,” says Garvey. “And I’d like to think we did that in certain cases with some of the Limerick players. Some players got a chance that they maybe mightn’t otherwise have got. Some have taken that chance and some players haven’t.”
When O’Grady arrived with a clean slate that winter, it was predictable that the men who populated the shadow squad would be the first overboard. And even now, with war wounds patched up and the whole of the county en fete, it’s close to impossible to get any of them to talk about it. Even the ones who returned calls for this article were uniformly reluctant to go into any detail about that summer. Bygones are strictly bygones.
Yet the fact remains, for a single summer they were the Limerick team. Nobody can take that from them.