Diarmuid Byrnes feels the Liam MacCarthy Cup is in Limerick in spirit as the revealed the reminder from his father of the importance of today's All-Ireland final for his county people was firmly in his mind.
Byrnes scored the 29th of 30 Limerick points as they clinched a second title in three years.
It was an assured, classy and ruthless performance from Limerick.
The post-match scenes were very different from the jubilation of 2018, but Byrnes feels this success will count for Limerick people during a trying year.
The silverware will stay with the GAA as Limerick return home tonight and go home without any further celebrations.
"The last time we were here was 82,000 people in 2018 and in the semi-final last year. It was a new experience for all the teams who came here so trying to manage that new experience and challenge. We embraced it and we know the Cup, whatever they are doing with it I don't know, but we know it is Limerick spiritually.
"My father rang me before the match and said, 'you might not have the crowd today but there are tens of thousands of Limerick supporters all around the world supporting ye'. We know that too.
"We'll probably get some food now in a cardboard box and on a train back to Limerick. We'll go our separate ways then.
"We have to follow the guidelines that are still there. We're still in Level 3 and we understand that too. There is a lot more serious things happening outside of this but we are lucky we have the opportunity to bring this sport to people at home and bring them some joy"
Byrnes felt that Limerick’s less convincing display against Galway in the semi-final helped them ensure there would be no weak points for their final opponents to exploit.
"I knew Waterford would have their homework done on us. They brought everything and threw everything at us. Our execution today was absolutely incredible.
"Every chance we got the lads killed it. That was down to the last day against Galway where we were building wides (and we did not want do that). The execution was unbelievable.
"Our backroom team did everything right, John (Kiely) and the rest. We just trust in them. As soon as you cross the white lines, they had the trust in us to get the job done. It works both ways."
The clinical display by Limerick in the biggest game of the year had the look of a team very much above the rest in the country in terms of standard, and Hayes is eager to take advantage of the position Limerick have found themselves in.
"It's just incredible," he admitted after an unbeaten 2020 season.
"When you are playing like this you want to go out and win everything you can and we've done it twice in each tournament.
"They are things we want to continue to do. We're going to try for more as a team."