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Eamon Cregan of Limerick - Great Career As Player & Manager
Mention of the name Eamon Cregan and it’s inevitable that the link to Limerick hurling becomes part of any conversation. The Claughaun clubman played in three All Ireland Senior hurling finals 1973/74/80 and also played on a Limerick team that lost to Offaly, after a replay, in the 1981 All Ireland semi final.
Few hurlers had such a long inter county career as Eamon Cregan. From his debut in 1964 to his farewell game in 1983 - that spans over nineteen years and Eamon was thirty eight, when father time came calling. As a dual player he played minor hurling and football with Limerick and in 1963 was minor hurling captain, as Tipperary were beaten in the Munster final, but Limerick lost to Wexford in the All Ireland final.
He also played under 21 hurling and football for Limerick. However gaelic football would later lose the services of Eamon to progress his hurling career. The second half of the 1960’s decade produced little innings for the county hurlers. In 1971 and in his seventh year in senior grade, Limerick would win the National League and also play in five consecutive league finals.
An All Star Award in 1971 certified Eamon Cregan as a player of high repute. In 1972 winning his second All Star confirmed his consistent form in the Limerick jersey. 1973 is a year that current generations of Limerick fans would prefer to confine to the history books. It was the year when 27 year old Eamon was one of the main generals, as the county won a glorious All Ireland title, but also failed to beat Kilkenny in two consecutive All Ireland finals. More heartbreak came in 1980 and ’81 in the All Ireland series as Limerick lost out in the 1980 final to Galway and fell to Offaly in the 1981 semi final.
In coaching the Offaly senior hurling team from 1992 - 1996, he won two Leinster titles and in 1994 Offaly inflicted possibly the worst All Ireland defeat ever endured by Limerick. As the victors coach, Eamon was in a difficult role. He had spells as Limerick manager 1986-88 and again 1997/2002
1 All Ireland Senior hurling medal 1973
4 Munster Senior hurling medals 1973/74/80/81
2 All Star Awards 1971/72/73
N.H.L. medals 1971
3 Railway Cup medals 1968/69/80
3 County Senior Hurling Medals: 1968/71/86
Composed by Derry JF Doody