Limerick player ratings: Gearóid Hegarty with a performance for the ages

Ian O’Riordan runs the rule over the now three-in-a-row All-Ireland champions

1 Nickie Quaid

Could do little about Kilkenny’s two thundering goals in the second half, had a couple of wobbles in that half too. Still another reliable and steadying performance from the man from Effin, varying his puck outs with great vision. Rating: 8

2 Seán Finn

Occasional creaking moment aside, thundered into the game as usual and never surrendered. Decisive in key moments in the second half, bossing the Kilkenny full forward line in his typical Bruff style. Emptied the tank and then some. Rating: 8

3 Mike Casey

Class performance from the Na Piarsaigh player, granite and steel, his massive catch on 21 minutes and winning the free one of the plays of the game. Commitment to the cause was phenomenal. Rating: 9

4 Barry Nash

Central as ever to the last line of defence, rarely yielding to even TJ Reid, alert and visionary as ever. Incredible output of energy, the South Liberties player bullish at times too. Rating: 9


5 Diarmaid Byrnes

How he keeps up this level of performance is hard to fathom, the Patrickswell player awesome with his long-range scores, three frees, one ‘65, and one from play just for good luck. Inspiring and inspired. Rating: 9

6 Declan Hannon

Another captain’s display for the ages, one big play after another, the Adare scoring from play too. Made several critical interventions towards the endgame when Kilkenny were threatening real carnage, his fitness at another level again. Rating: 9

7 Dan Morrissey

Brilliant point from play towards the end of the first half, kept on hunting and played through buckets of possession. Kept Adrian Mullen relatively quiet and excellent as ever under the high ball. Rating: 8

8 William O’Donoghue

The big Na Piarsaigh man keeps on keeping on, all the heavy lifting at midfield like food and drink to him, completely lording midfield throughout the dead heat of the battle. Brilliant offloading possession and intense commitment. Rating: 9

9 Darragh O’Donovan

Steely and comfortable in equal measure, great vision in the first half especially, the Doon man will be sorry to have coughed up the odd free, ran into the ground before making way for David Reidy. Rating: 8

10 Gearóid Hegarty

Yet another swashbuckling display from the giant of a man from St Patrick’s, his goal after four minutes a work of absolute genius. Still he kept dazzling us right until the end, a marathon effort sprinkled with class throughout. Rating: 10

11 Kyle Hayes

Still only 24 and still never ceases to amaze, four terrific points from play, two in either half, his wondrous skill and athleticism a constant threat to the entire Kilkenny defence. Might have helped himself to a goal, the Kildimo-Pallaskenry man though pivotal nonetheless. Rating: 9

12 Tom Morrissey

Cool, calm and sheer class, the Ahane collecting three points from play, the best set up by his brother Dan. His powerful moves forward were a constant threat. Ran himself to exhaustion before making way for Cathal O’Neill. Rating: 9

13 Aaron Gillane

Teak tough and reliable as ever, blistering in pace throughout, his accuracy so rarely letting him down off left or right. Did have close guard from Huw Lawlor, his kicked point in the sixth minute one to tell the grandchildren about. Rating: 9

14 Séamus Flanagan

Powered into the game as usual, scoring twice from play, throwing his weight around in every possible sense. Came off for Conor Boylan his job neatly done, a handful as ever for the opposition. Rating: 8

15 Graeme Mulcahy

Struggled a bit with his accuracy, sending his first two shots wide and the only forward not to score from play. Came off for Peter Casey once the battle became properly heated. Never stopped trying. Rating: 7


Were always likely to prove pivotal and they were, Cathal O’Neill’s point on 66 minutes after a pass from fellow replacement Conor Boylan one of the plays of the hectic endgame. David Reidy’s shot only ruled out thanks to Hawk-Eye. Rating: 8

Manager: John Kiely

Impossible to fault John Kiely as he guides the county to a first ever three All-Irelands in succession. Again had his team in peak condition, starting brilliantly and then raising things again when Kilkenny pulled themselves back level. Scary thing is there is no signal of decline, the four-in-a-row already beckoning. Rating: 10

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics