"We were known as stab city, the butt of everything. Of all the things JP has done, he has made everyone so proud to be from Limerick" 3 weeks ago

"We were known as stab city, the butt of everything. Of all the things JP has done, he has made everyone so proud to be from Limerick"

"Part of me became emotional, and obviously you're thrilled, but there are so many regrets."

'Dreams' was reverberating around Croke Park and, last Sunday, as he thought back on his own playing career, Niall Moran couldn't help but become a little bit emotional.

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He was part of the Limerick hurling team between 2003 and 2013 that, try as they did, never quite made it over the line to win an All-Ireland. At the forefront of his mind, as he talks regrets, is surely Limerick's lost year in 2010, that is remembered for the player's strike, a 31 point National League loss to Dublin and the subsequent scars that were left behind.

"Part of me became emotional, and obviously you're thrilled, but there's so many regrets," the Limerick man began on Monday's GAA Hour Hurling Show.

"There's so much time that we spent just falling over ourselves and going from manager to manager. The amount of broken relationships between players and players and players and county board officials and so on because it was just a sense of, you wanted something so much, but we ended up tripping ourselves so much along the way.

"But as a player, the window is so narrow, you get that small window of opportunity to achieve something and once it's gone it's gone and a part of me was looking in yesterday, you're just so envious.

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"Not even so much of the boys and what they achieved, because they achieved it without having the level of role models that they should have had, in the sense of what a Kilkenny child would, But I was so envious of the young lads, that they went home last night, today, trying to be Gearoid Hegarty, popping it into the top corner, or being exquisite like Declan Hannon.

"That's why I'm looking towards the future now saying 'we can't let this be a wasted opportunity." How can we get better? How can we have more schools competing for Harty Cups? That's why you'd be envious of Kilkenny, that unrelenting wheel that keeps on churning out hurler after hurler, club after club."

The success of the hurling team has helped to transform the city and the county, and Moran emotively explained the positive impact they hurlers have had on everyone in Limerick.

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"Both my parents are Tipperary people, the first person who was a friend of theirs' was the legendary Mick Hickey, who's a publican in Castleconnell and was part of the team in '36 and '40. We were reared in our kits, performing outside, and he telling you that you're the next Paddy Scanlan, or Power or Mackey. They are our people.

"And they are re-awakened now. It's not so long ago, forget about the noughties when we were fighting internally hurling-wise. It wasn't so long ago when we had to get prominent Limerick people to have a campaign saying 'I am from Limerick,' because we were known as stab-city.

"We were the butt of everything, there could be one hundred assaults in Dublin of a day but the one in Limerick is blown up. So we had to try and market ourselves, and in all the things that JP McManus has done, he has made everyone so proud to be from Limerick - he just radiates the simplicity of who we are, more so even than who we are, but who we want to be.

"And Dolores O'Riordan, she was Limerick city. That sense of people, you were just very proud to say then, yesterday, that you were from Limerick."

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It's certainly a good time to be able to say that.

Watch the full discussion below from 41.00.


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