Faith in Sport
2018 was a remarkable year in Irish sport. Limerick’s success in winning the All Ireland hurling final after forty five years crowned what for many spectators and pundits was the best season in living memory. (The introduction of a new provincial format intensified interest on and off the field.) The homecoming celebration for the victorious Limerick team expressed the social capital of sport in the city and county. This capital also found expression in financial terms and was expressed with the gift of Euro 100,000 by JP McManus to each of the thirty-two counties in the Association. Colm Keys celebrated this goodwill gesture: ‘Touched by the “extremely heart-warming” reaction across the country to Limerick’s 45-year Mac-Carthy Cup famine ending and the “elevated spirits” the win provided, McManus noted in his letter that “the whole hurling year had been a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience”.1 Limerick’s rivals are hoping this line is prophetic! In Gaelic football the development of the Super 8s Qualifying series and the dominance of Dublin in winning their fourth consecutive All-Ireland Championship gave rise to talk about the elusive Drive to Five.