LIMERICK’S sporting pedigree will be on show again this weekend with Thomond Park hosting the first ever Irish World Club 7s rugby event, while the county’s hurlers bid to reach the All-Ireland final at Croke Park.
Upwards of 10,000 sevens fans are expected to watch some of the biggest names in club and provincial rugby at the event this Saturday and Sunday. And those keen to see Limerick All Ireland semi-final clash with Kilkenny on Sunday afternoon will be looked after, with a big screen to be erected at the new fanzone in the stadium.
A Munster selection featuring Ronan O’Mahony and Gerhard van den Heever will face off against San Francisco, Moscow Saracens and Daveta from Fiji on Saturday, while the New South Wales Waratahs, Stade Francais and the Vodacom Bulls are also among the 12 teams taking part.
Meanwhile, excitement is building ahead of the Titanic tussle with Kilkenny at 3.30pm this Sunday in Croke Park. Over 20,000 Limerick fans are expected to make their way to GAA HQ for the tussle, with the Cats slight favourites with the bookies to march on to the final.
But the Limerick team are best when underdogs and have quad power in their corner - with Caherconlish newborns Molly, Amelda, Lilly and Lucas Slattery donning the green jersey for the very first time.
The parents of the miracle quadruplets are hoping their bundles of joy will bring Limerick plenty of luck on Sunday.
They bouncing 10 week-old boy and three girls are a sight to behold in their county GAA jerseys presented to them by Limerick Sports Store ahead of the eagerly anticipated All-Ireland semi-final clash with Kilkenny.
“They might bring a bit of luck to Limerick,” smiled proud dad James.
He may be a big hurling fan but there is no hope of him travelling to Croker – one of the daily feeds is at 4pm and the match starts at 3.30.
“It’s hard to find a baby-sitter for four,” he joked.
Mum Grace says the quads will be dressed in their gear on Sunday and they will all be cheering on Limerick.
But while the Slattery family won’t be going to the game, hordes of Limerick fans are set to travel by car, train and coach to Croker in the hope of seeing the men in green quieten the Cats.
With a capacity of over 80,000 at Croke Park there is no shortage of tickets for Sunday’s clash.
All clubs have received a plentiful allocation and tickets can be purchased online from gaa.tickets.ie or in Centra or SuperValu outlets.
“We have about 7,500 sold and you are probably talking about another 10,000 being sold on top of that through the shops,” said Mike O’Riordan, secretary of Limerick GAA county board.
The team he said “is injury free and ready for the big day on Sunday”.
Limerick hurling captain Donal O’Grady will return to the team for Sunday’s encounter having missed the quarter-final win over Wexford with a calf strain.
County hurling manager TJ Ryan, from Garryspillane, said that from the players point of view, “they just want to go and hurl”.
“They’ve done it really well all year and they want to try and keep that vein going,” he said.
Sunday’s game will be televised live on both RTE and Sky Sports.
Iarnrod Eireann have put on five additional services for Limerick fans; one starting from Charleville. Seats can be booked on irishrail.ie/hurling.