Gaelic GamesPlayer ratings

Limerick player ratings: Byrnes, Hayes, Lynch and Casey lead the way to four-in-a-row

Leaders show the way as John Kiely’s team secure 0-30 to 2-15 All-Ireland hurling final win over Kilkenny

1 Nickie Quaid

Could do little about either Kilkenny goal but will not be happy with his early puck-out that went straight to Richie Reid and led to a seventh Kilkenny point of the encounter. Of Limerick’s 26 puck-outs, they won 16 and lost 11, a 59 per cent return. Rating: 7

2 Mike Casey

Will be disappointed not to have dealt better with the ball that led to Eoin Cody’s goal and was part of a full-back line under pressure in the first half, but the last line of Treaty defence stepped up in the second half and as the game progressed the defending champions gained control. Rating: 7

3 Dan Morrissey

The Kilkenny forwards rotated and at times it caused Limerick problems but gradually the momentum shifted and Morrissey put in a huge second-half shift. The Limerick full-back line cleared a lot of ball during the closing stages as Kilkenny went in search of goals. Rating: 7

4 Barry Nash

Was blown for overcarrying when racing out with possession late in the first half, conceding a free which TJ Reid pointed. Nash made up for it with a brilliant display after the break, during which he was involved in a lot of play and surged up the field himself for a score. Rating: 7

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5 Diarmaid Byrnes

A display for the ages by Byrnes, who was at it from the off. He scored 0-8 from nine shots, with his mammoth solitary point from play coming at a pivotal moment in the 54th minute. But he wasn’t just a scoring machine, his aerial prowess, physicality and work rate oozed leadership. Rating: 9

6 William O’Donoghue

Delivered a big hit on Tom Phelan in the 10th minute which ultimately resulted in a pointed free by Diarmaid Byrnes. Filled in for Declan Hannon at centre back. Tagged TJ Reid for periods, but the Kilkenny forwards did rotate to try keep Limerick on their toes. Rating: 8

7 Kyle Hayes

Hayes, Byrnes and Lynch were the Limerick players fighting the good fight in the first half. Hayes was always available for puck-outs, even snatching a Kilkenny one during the opening period. He was central to their second-half comeback too, setting up scores, winning possession and clipping over a point himself. Rating: 9

8 Darragh O’Donovan

Struck the ball to a Kilkenny player from a sideline in the opening moments of the game, with the interception ending with Paddy Deegan clipping over. But O’Donovan steadied to make some big plays and blocks throughout, he smacked over an important score in the 51st minute. Rating: 8

9 Cian Lynch

Lynch was inspirational throughout, but his star show during the closing stages of the first half was crucial in not allowing Kilkenny pull away. He switched to centre forward and was sensational. Lynch was involved in all four of Limerick’s scores before half-time. He scored two points during the first half. When Limerick needed a leader, Lynch stood up. Rating: 9

10 Gearóid Hegarty

Was kept quiet in the first half but was another of the Limerick players who turned up the heat after the break, winning frees, claiming possession, forcing turnovers and popping over points. His second-half display was in keeping with Limerick’s performance overall. Rating: 7

11 David Reidy

Struggled to make an impact early on but the switch from centre forward midfield late in the first half made a significant impact on the game. Reidy was a constant presence for Limerick in the middle third thereafter and finished the game with 0-2 to his name. Rating: 7

12 Tom Morrissey

Morrissey covered a huge amount of ground in the first half and his work rate never dropped after the break. But he wasn’t able to get himself on the scoreboard after the interval and was replaced by Cathal O’Neill midway through the second half. Rating: 6

13 Aaron Gillane

Gillane had a tussle with Huw Lawlor all afternoon, with the Kilkenny full back not giving him an inch throughout. But Gillane never stopped making runs and his incredible 47th minute point that brought the sides level was a defining score in the game. Gillane finished with 0-5, two from play. Rating: 7

14 Séamus Flanagan

Did not impact the game in the manner he would have wished and was taken off just after the hour mark having failed to score. However, he did help create scores for those around him, not least the offload that produced Darragh O’Donovan’s inspirational point in the 51st minute that edged Limerick 0-18 to 2-11 in front. Rating: 6

15 Peter Casey

What a second half display by Casey. He was tenacious an in the opening period, but he still went in scoreless at the interval. But the Na Piarsaigh man scored 0-5, all from play, in a quality second-half display – the two scores from under the Hogan Stand and another from out on the Cusack Stand sideline were awesome. Rating: 9

Bench

Limerick’s first personnel change only came in the 55th minute when Cathal O’Neill was introduced. They emptied the bench thereafter, all during a spell when Limerick were riding the crest of a wave. O’Neill was the only Limerick sub to score, registering 0-2. Rating: 7

Manager

There was no panic on the Limerick sideline during Kilkenny’s first-half power play. Instead, John Kiely and his management team assessed the situation and before the break made a pivotal switch by moving Cian Lynch to centre forward and dropping David Reidy to midfield. He has managed Limerick to history. Rating: 9

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning is a sports journalist, specialising in Gaelic games, with The Irish Times