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The Fenway Classic helps further ingrain Limerick’s winning culture

The Fenway Classic may only have been a promotional tool, but helped further ingrain Limerick’s penchant for winning.

As the curtain draws down on Limerick’s unforgettable 2018 campaign, it won’t be long before they return to semi-competitive action when the Munster League throws-in in mid-December. For fans who bear the Christmas cold to take in the action against Tipperary on the 14th, they may miss out on some of the star-studded firepower that lit up Fenway Park this past weekend in Boston, but you’d agree that most of the players will have earned a bit of time away from the fold.

The Fenway Classic has attracted some criticism on home shores for the promotional power it seemed to boast, especially when compared directly with certain club and inter-county competitions. 

That is a valid debate, but for the four teams involved however, their concerns should be much more selfish; a few days away in Boston, a chance to unwind after a grueling 2018 campaign, to sink a few cold ones, and play a bit of hurling in one of America’s most famous and historic sporting venues for good measure.

It may seem like a lighthearted pick-up game of hurling, intended to help promote the game on American shores, not lacking any type of importance. But scratch even a little bit beneath the surface of the clichéd rent-a-quotes from some of the players and management involed and know that the players were there to win.

And for Limerick, it emphasises the winning culture this current group have fostered over the past few years.

The Fenway game will have no bearing on next year’s championship, and will be long forgotten by the time the league is in full flow next spring, but Limerick will be coming off a year where they were defeated just once in the league and once more in the Munster championship. This is a continuation of the penchant for victory most of this panel have experienced since minor and U21 level.

A major focal point of Limerick’s All-Ireland campaign surrounded watering the drought of generations, of ending the barren spell that had lingered like a bad smell since 1973, but these players have forged a path of their own well beyond the punishing memories of old. As 2018 went on, ultimately ending in late August with their victory over Galway, these Limerick players have filtered the losing culture into one that breeds victory.

The brand of free-flowing hurling they’ve developed, letting their instincts and skill do the talking in partnership with clinical preparation in the gym and on the training pitch, has created an era where they only know how to win, and with another trophy souvenir for their mantlepiece – it will be very hard to lose that taste for victory when 2019 rolls around.

The Fenway Classic barely triggers on the scale of importance in the GAA landcape, but Limerick players won’t mind that – they went over to win their games, enjoy themselves and put a bow on their amazing 2018 year. They did exactly that, and it would be a brave person to rule them out hurling deep into next year such is their penchant for winning.

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