Limerick have been crowned the All-Ireland Senior Hurling champions for a second year in a row, putting in an utterly dominant display to shatter Cork hearts.
The writing was on the wall at half-time, with the Treaty men already 13 points to the better, but John Kiely's men were ruthless in their pursuit of Liam McCarthy once again, stretching their lead to 16 by the final whistle.
Gearoid Hegarty was the man to once again set the match alight, taking his county's first goal of the afternoon in the second minute. Patrick Collins was left with little hope of denying the St Patrick's clubman, who stole up the left wing to send a screamer in low to the back of the net.
Not lacking in their own talent in front of goal, Cork's response wasn't long in the making. Kieran Kingston's decision to bring in Shane Kingston after his man of the match semi-final performance was confirmed a wise move when the 23-year-old struck back to make it a goal apiece.
Great response from @OfficialCorkGAA as Shane Kingston equalises with a goal against @LimerickCLG in the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final! #GAANOW pic.twitter.com/aLqEaXHMbZ
— The GAA (@officialgaa) August 22, 2021
The ease of Limerick's scores was evident, with all but one point in the first half coming from play. The free-taker, Aaron Gillane, was no one-trick pony however, snatching the Shannonsider's second goal in the 14th minute.
At the first-half water break, things stood 1-6 to 2-8 in Limerick's favour, but Kiely's side showed no sign of easing up. A match-up between Gillane and Hegarty had Cork thanking their lucky stars after the bouncing shot skimmed wide.
Hegarty wasn't finished with his charge on goal, however, twisting the knife one last time in the 36th minute to add another to their tally.
The second half was less of a thriller, but nonetheless an exhibition of Limerick's winning mentality. Despite their lead, they still pushed for goal, with Tom Morrissey denied the net by a great save from Collins.
At the second water break, the scoreline stood at 1-16 to 3-26 and a Cork comeback was not to be. The mark of the day was the substitutions of Hegarty and captain Declan Hannon with less than 10 minutes to go, having done their duty and then some.
The win sees Hannon join a very elite club, with only Cork legend, Christy Ring for company - the only hurling captains to claim Liam McCarthy three times.
Cian Lynch was immense throughout, fittingly named Man of the Match.
The crowds restored that special All-Ireland final atmosphere which was notably missing from last year's fixture, but they were however urged by GAA President Larry McCarthy to celebrate sensibly in line with Covid-19 restrictions.