THIS WILL BE THE THIRD SUCCESSIVE YEAR THAT NEWCASTLE WEST AND ADARE MEET IN THE TITLE DECIDER.
Newcastle West are looking make it three Limerick senior football titles in a row when they face Adare in the TUS Gaelic Grounds this Sunday at 2pm.
The game will also be live streamed on Limerick GAATV for anyone who can’t attend.
The two finalists are clearly the football big two in the county having shared seven of the last eight titles, Monaleen being the only exception in 2016.
The holders, managed by incoming Limerick senior football manager Jimmy Lee, will be many people’s favourites coming into this and with good reasoning.
After taking the Munster club championship by storm in 2022, almost going all the way after testing Kerins O’Rahillys, Lee’s side have remained consistent with their performances.
They have averaged a six-point winning margin in this year’s championship, coincidently the same margin they disposed of Monaleen in the semi-final (1-9 to 0-6).
They have conceded just two goals in the championship with none conceded in their last four games and that defensive structure will be vital in attempting to retain their county title.
Once again, Limerick stalwart Iain Corbett has been the star man, hitting 1-11 from play in the championship, while free taker Eoin Hurley has chipped in with vital scores.
Bryan Nix, Brian O’Sullivan, Emmet Rigter and Aaron Neville will be players to watch while Mike McMahon, who is 38 years old, will add more experience to the three-in-a-row chasers.
Despite going into Sunday’s clash as underdogs, Adare have shown resolve to get to the Limerick football showpiece.
That was epitomised in their extra time win over Fr Caseys in the semi-final, 2-15 to 2-12.
They were 2-9 to 0-8 up going into the last quarter and looked safe but Caseys battled back and converted a stoppage time penalty to send the game to an extra 20 minutes.
A late collapse like that could have drained the hope out of Adare but they refused to be beat as they outscored their opponents 0-4 to 0-1 in extra time.
That fighting spirit will be needed in the final too.
Limerick scorer in chief Hugh Bourke has been exceptional in this championship, hitting 2-30, 2-12 from play.
Other key scorers include Davey Lyons, Shane O’Connor and Robbie Bourke while Paul Maher, a previous captain of the UL Sigerson Cup team, will be a massive asset too.
It promises to be an exciting game of football.
The winner will face Tipperary champions Clonmel Commercials in the Munster senior club football championship quarter-final in Semple Stadium, with the victor of that tie then facing Kerry club Dingle in the Munster semi-final.