The All-Ireland champions Limerick sent out a message of their intent after an impressive 12-point victory over Tipperary in Sunday's Munster hurling final at the LIT Gaelic Grounds.
A powerful second-half display underlined Limerick's superiority, with Peter Casey and Kyle Hayes grabbing their goals to ensure that the Munster Cup will now sit alongside All-Ireland and league silverware.
Once they turned on the burners after Séamus Callanan's goal gave the visitors a five-point lead on the quarter mark, Limerick's intensity, touch and speed of movement ripped open the opposition in stark contrast to their laboured performance when losing to their neighbours a fortnight ago.
The result might have been closer had the winners not poached an opportunist goal 15 minutes from time and then Tipp were denied an instant reply by Nicky Quaid's save.
But such was the second-half dominance of the Limerick defence and the accuracy of the forwards against a tiring Tipp backline, there was never going to be a different outcome.
The huge home support in the sell-out attendance of 44,052 cheered on their side to their third trophy in ten months.
After Noel McGrath's opening free was met by Gearóid Hegarty, John O’Dwyer gave Tipp a lead which changed hands after Kyle Hayes and Peter Casey replied. It could have been more as Brian Hogan brought off a double save off Cian Lynch and Hayes before Dan McCormack, Ronan Maher and Jason Forde’s free put the visitors back in front.
Lynch reduced the gap but, after another Forde free, Limerick were caught ball-watching off McGrath's quick free to Séamus Callanan who tore though the defence to shoot low past Quaid.
Gillane, Casey and a Gillane free met the goal and, after Callanan flicked over off Hogan’s bouncing puckout, Gillane collected in the corner, skinned the challenges and Casey’s diving connection onto his pass forced home the equalising goal.
Super stuff from Limerick's Aaron Gillane as he combines with Peter Casey to find the back of the net. Watch live on @RTE2 now, highlights on The Sunday Game tonight at 9.30pm #rtegaa #LIMTIP pic.twitter.com/J0o0pPnoYt— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) June 30, 2019
Forde replied with a free before Hogan saved again from Hegarty and frees from Gillane and Diarmaid Byrnes put Limerick ahead. After Maher equalised, Tom Morrissey and Byrnes's free left the hosts leading 1-11 to 1-09 at the break.
Using the breeze, Byrnes's free and Hegarty stretched the lead as Tipp sent two chances wide before Hogan denied Hayes with another spectacular save. But they were back in business when, after Forde’s free, John McGrath ran onto McCormack’s pass to drill home the equaliser.
Casey, Gillane's free and Casey again wiped out the goal, and, after Forde’s reply, Grraeme Mulcahy and Tom Morrissey restored the gap to four.
After Jake Morris struck back, Casey flicked James Barry’s clearance in to Hayes’s path for Limerick’s second green flag.
Tipp’s chance of an instant reply came to nothing when Quaid brought off a spectacular foot-save off Callanan. Limerick would go on to add six points on the spin.
Forde and Jerome Cahill struck added-time responses before Graeme Mulcahy closed the scoring.
Limerick: N Quaid; S Finn, M Casey, R English; D Byrnes (0-03), D Hannon, D Morrissey; C Lynch (0-02), W O'Donoghue; G Hegarty (0-03), K Hayes (1-02), T Morrissey (0-04); A Gillane (0-03f), G Mulcahy (0-02), P Casey (1-5).
Subs: S Dowling for G Hegarty (62), D O’Donovan for W O’Donoghue (62), S Flanagan for P Casey (inj 64), B Nash (0-01) for D Hannon (69), D Reidy for T Morrissey (71).
Tipperary: B Hogan; S Kennedy, J Barry, S O’Brien; B Maher, P Maher, R Maher (0-02); M Breen, N McGrath; J Forde (0-06), J O’Dwyer (0-01), D McCormack (0-01); J McGrath (1-00),S Callanan (1-01), J Morris (0-01).
Subs. N O’Meara for M Breen (ht), R Byrne for N McGrath (0-01) (53), J Cahill (0-01)for J O’Dwyer (61), B Heffernan for J Barry(62), M Kehoe for J McGrath (64).
Referee: P O’Dwyer (Carlow).