Longford's 'Brave Giant' performed during half time of the Limerick versus Galway All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final at Croke Park on Sunday last.
Galway were worn out. Weary. Hurting, in more ways than one.
In the warm up, their collective tiredness was there for all to see.
Unable to summon the energy that has become their hallmark, this was nature taking over and dictating that rest was needed, deep in their subconscious body systems.
If hurling is the better game by far, then surely it deserves better treatment than to expect a team to be ready in a fortnight after a series of heavy duty matches one after the other. In one case they had to be ready in six days. It’s really not the way to present the biggest game of the hurling year, or possibly in a lifetime, and was unfair to Galway.
It’s a fact of life that inevitably teams pick up injuries here and there, in tense games that are played at breakneck speed, and in that Galway were no different than any other.
Galway were lacking the constant threat of Joe Canning who normally drags the opposition one way or another. On such magic, but subtle, moments are great teams measured.
On Sunday last Galway, and Canning, were unable to play at breakneck speed.
Nobody will focus on this aspect, because Limerick so deserved to win, after 45 years of close calls.
It wasn’t the best game of hurling for this year.
Approaching the last fifteen minutes, everyone assumed the result was decided. Suddenly Galway somehow came alive, and could have got the tie game at the end when Canning dropped a long free, about 90 plus yards, short of the target. For seconds the ball bobbed around heads before Limerick secured it; the game was over.
Watching his face on the screens before the strike, it was evident that Canning was exhausted.
But what a player.
Anyway, Limerick were finally released.
And deservedly there was an outburst of emotion, tears, joy, and every manifestation of mankind’s exuberance.