Quaid: Beating Banner can spark glory run to All-Ireland
Limerick goalkeeper Nickie Quaid is going to miss Sunday's showdown with Clare but he is hoping that a good start to the Munster Championship will ignite a glorious year.
Limerick's long-suffering fans get their hopes up every decade or so as new batch emerges but the famine still stretches back to 1973. New hope has come in the past couple of years, while two Munster minor titles in a row have fanned the flames.
They have gone out at the semi-final stage in the past two years to the eventual Liam MacCarthy winners, and in 2012 Kilkenny went on to lift the title after taking out Limerick in the quarter-finals. The Treaty men were seven points adrift of Clare in 2013, just two points off Kilkenny last August.
"We do feel we are very close. We would have felt that the last two years. If you don't feel that way you're probably at nothing," said Quaid.
"We firmly believe we are good enough to win the All-Ireland and we have to back up our performances consistently throughout the Championship.
"That's probably been our big downfall in the League in that we haven't been consistent enough. We do feel that we are very close to what's there.
"We pushed Kilkenny close last year but maybe it's time we took that next step and get over the line in those tough games. Maybe Sunday will be the start of it."
A broken collar bone picked up in training has Quaid (25) sidelined and he's not sure when he will be back, but he is a firm believer in the squad and is not moping about his bad luck.
"It is a squad game now and unless you buy into that squad mentality you are at nothing. Fifteen players isn't going to win you the game. You need your five subs and every fella pushing in training.
"So, I am conscious when I do go training that I am not feeling sorry for myself and moping around. If I feel sorry for myself I will do that at home. When I go in to training I'll do it with a smile on my face," he said.
The Effin man acknowledges that there will be an edge to Sunday's clash in Semple Stadium because the sides are neighbours and have played with and against each other over the years.
"A lot of our lads would have played under Davy (Fitzgerald) at LIT and a lot of crossover with players between LIT and Ard Scoil , so a lot of players have maybe built up a rivalry down the years," he explained.
"We are just expecting a very tough game, the usual that teams have got off Clare the last few years. I don't think this will be any different. They were All-Ireland champions two years ago so they haven't become a bad team overnight."