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Richie Bennis Of Limerick Fame - Hurler And Freetaker Became A Legend
A Limerick hurler who had to drive a seventy yard free between the posts with the last puck of a game dawning and the opponents are the famous Tipperary hurlers adorned with many major honours. Richie Bennis stepped up to the King size task and split the posts to send Limerick through to the All Ireland Senior Hurling semi final of 1973.
From his minor and under 21 careers, he strode on to the county senior team as a 20 year old in 1965. This period is documented as a lean era for Limerick at inter county who were waiting to win a Muster Senior title, since they last emerged as provincial champions in 1955. An accurate and excellent free taker, Limerick relied heavily on his free taking to accumulate scores. He consistently was amongst the top scorers at national and county levels,until his retirement from Inter County hurling in 1975.
He won a National League medal in 1971 with a gallant victory over Tipperary. In 1973 that famous point scored by Richie from a seventy, gave him his first Munster Senior Hurling medal and the subsequent defeat of Kilkenny in the All Ireland final, provided his only All Ireland Senior medal.
In 1974 Richie was again prominent as Limerick retained their Munster title, but Kilkenny gained consolation for 1973, by defeating the Shannonside men in the All Ireland final. After a ten year senior career in the green of Limerick, 1975 was the year he took permanent leave of absence and went on to focus on playing senior hurling with his native Patrickswell.
With the Well he won a glorious ten Limerick county titles 1965/66/69/70/77/78/82/83/84/87. The Bennis family consisted of 7 boys and 6 girls and they all made a huge contribution to their local club. When playing hurling finally ceased, Richie got in to coaching at club and county. His first induction was coaching Limerick junior hurling team, Camogue Rovers, but silverware was difficult to achieve at the junior club
In 2006 Limerick County Board appointed Richie as manager. After losing the 2007 All Ireland final to Kilkenny, the Board decided they needed a new manager after the 2008 Munster campaign. His final days as Limerick manager were not complimented by astute board management, but Richie Bennis had his own proud hurling career written into the history books.
1 All Ireland Senior Hurling medal 1973
2 Munster Senior Hurling medals 1973/74
1 N.H.L medal 1971
10 Limerick Senior Hurling medals 1965/66/70/77/79/82/83/84/87
1 All Star Award 1973
Derry JF Doody