The images of the players celebrating on the pitch with each other made the cover of every newspaper. The scenes of the supporters in the stands overwhelmed with joy.
The shots of Limerick manager John Kiely with his two girls and wife after the game. The Galway team deflated as they watch Limerick climb the steps of the Hogan Stand. The footage from Croke Park as the sound of Dolores O’Riodarn‘s voice singing ‘Dreams‘ rang around the stadium was spine tingling.
We saw Limerick City being lit up in a sea of green on the Monday evening as the Liam MacCarthy Cup was brought home.
We are used to seeing these scenes every summer when a team wins the All-Ireland and the celebrations are mighty. But there was something special about Limerick’s victory this year.
Finally, for the Treatymen their wait was over. After 45 years of not tasting success, the drought had ended. And the rest of the country from opposing counties stood up to applaud and admire them. You couldn’t help but be happy for Limerick, especially for a team with an average of 23.
Out of all the photos and videos that were shared, liked and retweeted online, this one, in particular, stood out the most.
My daughter @leanbanB took this amazing photo of a @LimerickCLG fan at full time. Of course as Galway people we are disappointed with the result, but look how much it means to this family. Comhghairdeas libh Luimneach & bainigí sult as. #gaa #hurling @officialgaa #LuimneachAbú pic.twitter.com/ytA6OCmVtF
— Seán Bán Breathnach (@SBBinashui) August 20, 2018
The image of this father, holding his two boys as he cried with happiness sums up hurling as a sport. It is so much than the 70 minutes of a game, it runs much deeper than that.
At its core, is family. Your parents probably bought you your first hurl, or took you to your club for the first time. You grow up following your team so when you become an adult sitting in the stands of Croke Park, it is rooted deep within you just like the others that went before you.
And when your team succeeds just like Limerick did, it is with your family that you celebrate and creates memories that will be retold in years to come.
Hurling is so much more than a sport. It is part of who you are, who we are. It brings with it a sense of belonging and identity. Hurling is family, and family is hurling.