Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí
There is a proverb in the Irish language ‘Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí’ – praise the youth, and they will flourish. And when I think of it in my head, I can’t keep but think of the Limerick Senior Hurling Team, who are the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Champions for 2018.
It is one thing to win the All-Ireland. After all, the Liam MacCarthy Cup is the Holy Grail. But to win one with the average age of your team is 23, is a phenomenal achievement.
Kyle Hayes was awarded Man of the Match for the All-Ireland Final is only 20. Their free-taker Aaron Gillane is 21. Out of the starting XV for the Final, only two players are over 25, Nickie Quaid (29) and Graeme Mulcahy (28).
Age is no hindrance
Before the Final, there was plenty of speculation that Galway would have the upper hand on Limerick due to the fact that they have older players. The Tribesmen also had the experience of playing in All-Ireland Final last year, whereas this was something that the Treatymen lacked.
Were Limerick phased by hype and buzz of a Final? Absolutely not. They may be young, but they played with such class and moreover, they played with maturity. And this wasn’t just in the Final.
In both the Quarter Final against Kilkenny and the Semi-Final against Cork, it looked as though Limerick may have lost the game as the clock ticked away. In the final few minutes of both games, they kept their heads and worked in overdrive to ensure they achieved wins.
Limerick always had the belief that they could beat this Galway team and become champions. Back in the spring during the Allianz League, the sides clashed. Limerick came from 8 points down to beat Galway on their own turf. Perhaps that was an early indication of what was to come.
And the best thing about of is, when you have a team so young, it means there is plenty more still to come. And as the New Year approaches, is it too early to start thinking about back to back titles?