Mulcahy: We didn't know how to win in Munster, it's now a surprise if we don't
Graeme Mulcahy believes that Limerick's emergence as a seasoned and mentally strong Championship team was born out of sheer frustration.
In the 2012 Munster quarter-final against Tipperary at Semple Stadium, the Shannonsiders blew a seven-point lead in the final 20 minutes.
With 48 minutes on the clock, they led by 1-15 to 1-8 but Tipp emptied the bench and caught the visitors with a sensational late run.
"Maybe in 2012 it was a mental thing that we were so far ahead we couldn't believe it ourselves and we let it slip," recalls Mulcahy.
"Once we got over the first one we gained that bit of experience of closing out games."
Limerick wouldn't make the same mistake twice and in a complete role reversal, they outscored Tipp by 0-9 to 0-2 down the home straight in the 2013 semi-final at the Gaelic Grounds.
A late 1-2 salvo from the visitors was good enough to floor Tipperary again last summer, and next Sunday, the Treaty men are chasing a third successive victory against their neighbours and fierce rivals.
If, as expected, the game is in the melting pot in the final quarter, Limerick will fancy their chances of doing enough.
"Even the Clare game the last day, we closed that out whereas in other years we might not have been able to do that because of the mentality that was there," says Mulcahy.
"Once we got over the first one (Tipp in 2013), we gained that bit of experience of closing out games."
That victory over Tipp two years ago was Limerick's first in the Munster Championship since the 2007 trilogy between the two counties.
And Mulcahy (25) reflects: "Up until then it had been a bleak four years since I had first started. But since then we've got a few big victories under our belt.
"We've got a Munster Championship (2013), hopefully another Championship this year and then take it from there."
Mulcahy and his Kilmallock colleagues were still going strong in the club campaign until St Patrick's Day, when the Limerick and Munster kingpins lost to Ballyhale Shamrocks in the All-Ireland final.
And Mulcahy, goal hero against Clare, admits that readjusting to life as an intercounty hurler was tricky.
He says: "No, it wasn't easy, to be honest. I think TJ (Ryan) and the lads have been fairly flexible with the training and leaving us off here and there to keep that bit of freshness.
"It was probably easier to shake it from the system after losing because you want to get back and try to prove a point really."