Hurling league finals at Croke Park the rarest of things

March 26, 2019

A view of Croke Park. ©INPHO/Gary Carr.

Sunday’s Allianz HL Division One decider between Limerick and Waterford will be a unique occasion for many reasons - not least the venue.

It’s the first time that the Munster rivals have contested a league final and the GAA’s decision to fix the game for Croke Park as a double header along with the football decider means we’ll experience the relative rarity of a hurling league showpiece at HQ.

The last time Croker staged a HL final was in 2011, when Dublin got the better of Kilkenny. We have to go back to 2003 for the previous final in Dublin 3 (Kilkenny’s epic victory over Tipperary) and there’s a twelve-year gap between that one and Offaly’s victory over Wexford in 1991. So Sunday's final will be just the third at Croke Park in 28 seasons!

It's been 56 years since Waterford played a league final in Croke Park and either 61 or 49 since the Treaty County did so, depending on whether or not we count a 'home' final.

Way back in 1963, Na Deise beat Tipperary in the home league final at Croke Park and drew with New York in the final proper on Jones Road before winning the replay at Nowlan Park.

Limerick faced Wexford in the league final at Croke Park on May 11th, 1958 but lost by 5-7 to 4-8. In May, 1970, they returned to Croker to take on Cork in the home final but were beaten by 16 points.

Since then, they’ve played twelve finals at provincial venues in Munster - four at the Gaelic Grounds, four at Semple Stadium, two at Pairc Ui Chaoimh (including a replay), one at Cusack Park and one at the Cork Athletic Grounds.

Waterford’s five national hurling league final appearances since 1963 were at Semple Stadium (1998, 2007, 2015 and 2016) and the Gaelic Grounds (2004).

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