DAN MORRISSEY WAS an eye-witness when Limerick last tasted Munster senior hurling glory.
He had an insight into the workings of the squad that triumphed on that final day in the summer of 2013 but was not in the heart of the celebrations.
A youngster on the fringes of the squad, he had been recruited for some training sessions, but on match day he slipped in amongst the thousands of Limerick fans watching on as a 17-year wait for glory was ended with success over Cork.
“I was up on the terrace that day. I was in the training squad for whenever they were doing 15-on-15 games. I’d be brought in for them, but I wasn’t on the official championship squad or anything like that.
“I was up in the terrace watching on with a few friends and the sun shining on in the Gaelic Grounds, it was a great day.
“It was the first big trophy that Limerick had won in a good few years. Full house in the Gaelic Grounds in the middle of summer, there wasn’t a game like that for a good few years.
“At that stage, Limerick hadn’t tasted success in so long. Lads were just mad to get on the pitch. It was a great Munster championship that year.”
Limerick players celebrate after their 2013 Munster hurling final victory.
Source: James Crombie/INPHO
The Limerick defender was accustomed to travelling to Munster hurling encounters in his youth and select games for a highlights reel.
“2013, obviously, but I’m probably being a bit biased there. The 2004 Cork-Waterford game when Waterford were a man down and won by a point. That sticks out.
“I was there that day. My father used to bring me to a load of the matches, even when Limerick weren’t playing.
“Those Waterford teams in the mid-00s were great teams to watch. They obviously have a few Munster medals and we’d love to add a few.”
That is the only blot on his senior copybook. August 2018 delivered the All-Ireland breakthrough and April 2019 secured a league title win.
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Dan Morrissey (left) celebrates with team-mates after Limerick’s All-Ireland final victory last August.
Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO
Morrissey is the exception to the rule of Limerick players brought up on a diet of underage glories. A Limerick minor in 2010 and 2011, both seasons followed the same pattern of opening round victories and semi-final defeats. His U21 days from 2012 to 2014 yielded three appearances and three defeats.
No wonder then that the pursuit of a Munster senior medal has taken on greater value. This is Morrissey’s sixth campaign as Limerick prepare to start out on Sunday against Cork.
“There is only a handful left from that 2013 squad who have a Munster medal. The vast majority of the squad don’t have a Munster medal. It is obviously something players will want to win.
“Inter-county careers are so short at the minute that you want to win as much as you can while you are playing and you can look back on the medals you won then once you retire and finish up.
“A Munster championship medal is something you grow up dreaming of having. I remember going to Munster finals in a child, Limerick might not have been in them, but you would have had Cork, Waterford, or Tipperary playing and you’d always dream of winning a Munster championship with your county.
“75% of the panel doesn’t have a Munster medal so that is definitely a medal we would like to add to the collection.”
He can detect a heightened interest in the fortunes of the Limerick hurlers around the county in the wake of their memorable 2018 campaign. That engagement should manifest itself in
“The last nine months have been a bit mad. You walk down the street and people will be congratulating you. Walk into a shop and people congratulating you.
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“Whereas, go back two or three years and you could walk down the street no bother, nobody would recognise you at all.
“It’s great. The numbers playing hurling in clubs around Limerick has definitely increased since last year. Definitely the interest in games – for the league games there was a great Limerick following. I’m sure at the Gaelic Grounds for the two rounds of Munster championship will be great attendances.”
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