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Limerick’s Aaron Gillane on that All-Ireland winning feeling!

Aaron Gillane tells us what was going through his head in the final minutes of the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final and what it means to him and the rest of Limerick to finally win.

That winning feeling

Aaron Gillane returned to college this autumn as an All-Ireland Champion. At only 22 years old, he was a key member of the Limerick team that went on to beat Galway in August and win the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship.

It has been 45 years since Limerick last won the Liam MacCarthy Cup and when they brought the cup back Shannonside this year, a massive 90,000 turned out for the occasion. So has it all sunken in for Aaron and is he still on a buzz?

20 August 2018; Cian Lynch, left, and Aaron Gillane celebrate with the Liam MacCarthy Cup during the Limerick All-Ireland Hurling Winning team homecoming at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

“We are delighted. Things are a bit back to normal now. I am back with the club and back to college. It all helps a bit I suppose. I don’t think really any of us understood what we were after doing. I know it was in all of our heads but it hasn’t really fully sunken in yet.

When we went back to Limerick and it was crazy. 90,000 people had turned out, and the train station was packed when we pulled in! It was just unreal. One of the members of the background team, Conor MacCarthy has been with Limerick for the last 10 years. When he saw the number of people that had turned out, he just started balling crying. That would have been one of the standout moments from the week!”

The last few minutes

The All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final this year was heart-stopping stuff – well the last ten minutes were anyway. During the second half, it looked like Limerick had done enough to secure their All-Ireland title. Though, when an additional 8 minutes were added, Galway rallied their never say die attitude.

Two goals from Joe Canning and Conor Whelan set the game alight again, and Galway were right back in it. Nerve wrecking stuff altogether. So, what was going through Aaron’s head at this point?

19 August 2018; Aaron Gillane of Limerick in action against Daithí Burke of Galway during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Galway and Limerick at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

 “I didn’t know what to think, to be honest with you!  I thought it was never going to end. 70 minutes is long enough in an All-Ireland Final and we nearly played 80 minutes.

I suppose what came into my head would have been the years before like 1994, and 1996, when Limerick had such a big League and lost to Offaly. Though, I didn’t have too much time though to ponder on that! We all had our own jobs to do, so we were just focusing on that! But thank god, we came out on the right side now and we are all grateful for that.”

19 August 2018; Aaron Gillane and Diarmaid Byrnes, 5, of Limerick celebrate following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final between Galway and Limerick at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Aaron may be a young player but he stepped up to the plate this year and took on the reasonability of being the free-taker. Did he ever feel any added pressure with this role?

“I didn’t, to be honest, no. I am the first choice free-taker but if I ever came off there are plenty more lads there to take them. Tom Morrissey took them against Cork this year. We would have Shane Dowling to come in and as well, and sure he is one of the best free-takers in the country, so no I wouldn’t have felt any extra pressure now. I knew we had a very strong backup!”

What lies ahead

The average age of the Limerick team is 23, and for Aaron, their youthfulness helped them this year with their win.

“We are a young team, and we all kind of came up through the ranks together. We would have played underage together in the same team. We all used to play together so that would have definitely helped. Small little things like that all definitely add up and it helped us get the win!”

And does he have any idea what might be in store for Limerick next year?

“I haven’t thought about that too much now to be honest with you. But hopefully we will go into next year with the same setup and we will be having the conversation about Limerick winning the All-Ireland again.

That is a long shot now that is miles away, but suppose we will just go back now at around Christmas time. We will all be focused on the upcoming League, and we will just take it every match from there.”

Littlewoods Ireland are proud sponsors of the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship. Keep yourself up to date with all the #StyleOfPlay action right here! 

Ellen McConville

Typically found on the sidelines or in Croke Park, Ellen is the Sports Content Editor for Littlewoods Ireland and your go-to gal for all things GAA. A big lover of all things Christy Moore, fashion and some wine and cheese as well.

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