47cm x 34cm
In the relative cool of the Limerick dressing-room, cramped and pokey as it was beneath the Mackey Stand, Ger Loughnane addressed the victors.
It was, the vanquished Clare manager told them, “the kind of game we hear about from our fathers and grandfathers” – adding that in all his time in hurling he had never been involved in anything like it.
In the corner was Ciarán Carey, fresh from his wondrous individual point that had decided the game – it still remains one of hurling’s greatest scores – parked on a slatted bench, pulling on a cigarette. The protein shakes were still a few years off.
Loughnane would go on to savour many more tumultuous, spine-tingling days on the sideline with Clare, some of a higher standard than that particular scorching Sunday afternoon.
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But that 1996 Munster semi-final was, as Anthony Daly put it in his autobiography many years later, “a day of days” – the most memorable game he had played in.
Two things stood out on the way to the Gaelic Grounds that day – the heat and the crowds swarming on the Ennis Road, the tar squelching beneath each and every one. As far as the eye could see down both sides were people walking through a heat haze, so many white shirts peppered between green and saffron and blue.
How, you thought, could anyone hurl in the conditions in little over an hour’s time?