"It was a long hard two years for me" - Casey delighted to be back after cruciate nightmare
Limerick 3-21 Tipperary 0-23
De-Ja vu! For Limerick and for Tipperary.
Tipperary put up a good fight in the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday but, just as they did last year and just as a reminder of how good they are, Limerick turned on the taps when they needed to. And though Ger Browne was influential and Barry Heffernan hurled well and the majority of the Tipperary boys stood up, you always felt that Limerick were going to do just that.
Because, while the plaudits were going to Tipperary as, for the second year in a row, they went into the break with a lead - more of that should have went to Limerick sloppiness than to Tipperary brilliance. Sean Finn dropped balls that he never drops in that first half, Ger Browne could hardly believe the amount of space Diarmaid Byrnes was giving him and to be fair, you'd give out to an under-12 if they hit the pair of wides that William O'Donohuge did.
But after all that, and even with Noel McGrath on song, Tipperary were still only leading by two points at the break. And though they came out and hurled in the second half too, with McGrath in the middle of everything once more, they never got more than three points clear and that's why Limerick always looked like coming back.
'We were trying to do too much at times'
Man of the match Mike Casey reflects on Limerick's victory over Tipperary
Highlights on #TheSundayGame from 9.30pm
📻https://t.co/fTWa53ZKqq #RTEGAA pic.twitter.com/f4yQdTTmbD
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) May 8, 2022
Someone had to bring them back still and while Barry Nash was again, inspirational at corner back, while Hannon was solid, O'Donovan was clever and Mike Casey was safe as a house, Tom Morrissey was the real table-turner. He's been hot and cold up to now but, in a performance that, as Anthony Daly and Liam Sheedy both said, will put the fear of God into any team that has to play Limerick in the next few weeks, he scored four points and looked back to his very best.
Gillane too, was a class apart with two sensational, opportunistic goals but Tipperary fans will argue that, for the second year in a row, he was a lucky man to be there to score the second one. The ball was in the vicinity but his stroke was a wild one on Ronan Maher.
He got away with it though and, with the Gaelic Grounds rocking to a familiar tune, Limerick couldn't miss for a finish. Afterwards, Mike Casey was named man-of-the-match and having missed two All-Ireland winning campaigns due to a cruelly timed cruciate injury, he was delighted to be back in the mix. Back in the middle of it.
"We only focus on ourselves, no matter what's going on outside, we try and control what we can control," he said in an enjoyable interview.
"The message was to settle on the ball at half-time. We've been here before.
"It was a long hard two years for me, and every time I get to put on this jersey, I'm just full of pride. I'm delighted to be out there hurling for Limerick, with all my best friends."