Limerick 3-16 Galway 2-18: Five match defining moments
Keith Duggan looks at the key incidents as Limerick ended a 45-year wait for glory
Limerick’s Kyle Hayes collides in the air with Galway’s Joe Canning during the All-Ireland SHC Final at Croke Park. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
1 Limerick’s opening act
All fears and qualms about Limerick’s big day inexperience fell away in the opening 10 minutes. John Kiely’s young team settled into the task beautifully. Aaron Gillane opened the scoring and Kyle Hayes thieved Adrian Tuohy’s hand pass and confidently whipped his team’s second point to signal the tone for much of the game. Galway’s potential for a torrential opening quarter was averted and but for 11 first-half wides, they might have been almost out of sight.
2 Daylight robbery
Declan Hannon stepped into Pádraic Mannion’s pass to Joe Canning, moved into space and filched a point from Galway’s possession. It was the culmination of five minutes when the challengers bossed and bullied Galway, starting with a hefty and questionable tackle on Mannion by Séamus Flanagan, which led to Graeme Mulcahy’s goal. Limerick hit 1-3 without reply and on the half hour mark, it was clear that the champions were in serious trouble.
3 Tom Morrissey’s goal
All afternoon, the Ahane man had been used as wide receiver along the left wing but after Joe Canning signalled the flickers of a Galway revival with two points on the trot, Morrissey pressured and robbed Gearóid McInerney in possession and kept his cool to dance through the recovering Galway defence to push Limerick a full eight points clear. The move was emblematic of the day: unrelenting Limerick pressure; Galway defenders isolated and unable to find an outlet pass and Limerick punishing their errors. It seemed to push the final back towards inevitable one-sidedness.
4 James Skehill’s save
Galway were listing badly when Séamus Flanagan came bustling through to finish a brilliant flick from Graeme Mulcahy. James Skehill, Galway’s goalkeeper through himself at the ball with a hugely courageous save. It was to be his last involvement in the match. In the moment, it seemed to prevent further pain for the All-Ireland champions. In fact, it kept their day alive. Galway would outscore Limerick by 1-3 to 0-1 over the following 10 minutes. The Galway crowd made themselves heard for the first time.
5 Canning’s free
Everyone in the stadium knew Canning would go for goal with the 20-metre free. It had been a mixed afternoon for the Portumna man but his shot was head high and a rocket. It turned the game on its head and threatened upon Limerick the kind of ending that would have made 1994 look like a fairytale. Graeme Mulcahy’s nerveless 78th-minute point staved the demons away and when an extraordinary finale closed, Limerick were All-Ireland champions.