Graeme Mulcahy and Kilmallock don’t mind the wait

Limerick champions will meet either Glen Rovers or Midleton in Munster SHC

A full 13 weeks after Cork's All-Ireland hurling final loss to Limerick, their flagship county senior championship will conclude this Sunday.

Liam MacCarthy Cup champions Limerick, meanwhile, required just nine weeks to complete their local championship, back on October 24th.

That gap has come starkly into focus because the Limerick champions, Kilmallock, will play the Cork representatives, Glen Rovers or Midleton, in the AIB Munster club SHC on the weekend of December 11th/12th.

For whoever wins the Cork final this Sunday, the three week gap will probably be just about perfect but for Kilmallock it’s a massive seven-week break that could very well sap them of their county title winning momentum.

"I would be pretty confident it won't affect us," said Kilmallock's talisman forward Graeme Mulcahy who was the first substitute introduced by Limerick on All-Ireland final day back in August. "The group is an old enough team with a couple of new guys splashed around it so there is plenty of maturity within the group.

“It will also be our fourth Munster campaign over the last 12 years so lads are well versed on what the Munster club is about. I would be confident enough we will hit the ground running.”

Yet Mulcahy, an AIB provincial club title winner with Kilmallock back in 2014, has acknowledged there are ups and downs to the mammoth wait.

“I suppose the upside is that it gave us a chance to give guys a couple of weeks off to maybe just recharge the batteries, go on a couple of holidays here or there or just let guys do whatever they needed to do and then get back into a bit of a mini-pre-season and start preparing for the semi-final with the Cork winners,” said Mulcahy.

“It just gives us a bit of breathing space, that would probably be the big upside. The downside is that you don’t get a competitive game for seven weeks. We lined up a couple of challenge matches here and there but as everyone knows that is never the same thing as a competitive game.”

One advantage of the lengthy break was that Mulcahy and several of his Kilmallock colleagues who are also part of the Limerick squad were able to enjoy a guilt free team holiday in the sun.

“It was the week after the county final that we went away on the team holiday to Barbados, so that was a nice break and an opportunity to let the hair down and chill for a week,” said Mulcahy.

Kilmallock will be able to fine tune their provincial preparations from Sunday when they'll learn their opposition. No doubt Kilmallock manager Tony Considine or his close aides will be on Leeside for the Pairc Ui Chaoimh encounter. Asked if he'll be tuning in himself through some medium, Mulcahy nodded.

“Definitely, yeah, I have been watching all the club games in fairness, the Tipp final, the Dublin final, which was very exciting last weekend,” said Mulcahy. “I’ll be keeping a closer eye on this one obviously between the Glen and Midleton.”

The previous evening, Limerick’s players will gather for a gala medals ceremony, the first since the pandemic. A number of players, including Mulcahy, will receive eight medals after a dominant couple of seasons.

"A pretty awesome haul of medals for the panel," he said. "Obviously we missed out on receiving the '19 and '20 medals for the last couple of years with Covid and everything that was going on. It will be nice for the likes of Richie McCarthy and Paul Browne and Tom Condon and those guys that have left the panel in the last couple of years to come back in together with the group."