Graeme Mulcahy and Paul Browne are both rated as “very doubtful” for Limerick’s All Ireland hurling Qualifier against Antrim on Saturday night after they got injured against Wexford last weekend.
Limerick manager Donal O’Grady confirmed on Wednesday that Mulcahy’s ankle injury and and a cracked bone in Browne’s foot is likely to keep them out. But Tom Condon is expected to be fit after he took a full part in Tuesday night’s training session.
“Graeme and Paul Browne are very, very doubtful,” said O’Grady. “We’ll name the team at training on Thursday night but I’d imagine that any changes we make will be enforced changes.
“We had a recovery session on Sunday, trained on Tuesday and will train again on Thursday. But to even call them training sessions is stretching it because they’re really more like get togethers. There’s very little you can do when you only have a week between games.”
O’Grady will have the services of dual players Stephen Lucey and Mark O’Riordan while he’s also hoping that Brian Geary (groin) and Sean Tobin (flu) will be close to fully fit.
The expected absence of Mulcahy and Browne is a tough blow on the two youngster. Mulcahy gave a splendid performance against Wexford to finish with 1-4 while Browne has been impressive all season and looked to be developing nicely as Donal O’Grady’s midfield partner.
Their absence should open the door for some of the panelists though with Mark O’Riordan pushing hard for inclusion in midfield and a number of contenders challenging for Mulcahy’s place in the corner. He was replaced by Donie Ryan late in last week’s game but Thomas O’Brien, Richie McCarthy and Pat Tobin would also be in the reckoning to start.
Limerick beat Antrim in the last round of the league back in April with Kevin Downes announcing his arrival on the scene by scoring three goals in Limerick’s 4-15 to 0-15 win.
O’Grady reckons that Antrim will be a much different proposition this time and says that they will be dangerous opponents in Parnell Park.
“They were missing about five players in the league when we played them and they’ll be much stronger this time. They make no secret of the fact that they love playing in Parnell Park and they brought Offaly to extra time last year in the Leinster championship so they’ll be delighted to get us up there and they’ll see Limerick as much better option than getting Galway.
“I thought they were very good in the first half against Wexford.
“Our only focus now is getting over Antrim and if we get out of Parnell Park with a one-point win, then I’ll be happy.”
Antrim have had a busy campaign so far this year, beating Laois in the Leinster championship before losing to Wexford and then comfortably beating Westmeath and Carlow in the Qualifiers. They have also been in action in the Ulster championship where they had a six-point win over Armagh last Sunday.
Should Limerick win then they’ll have a two-week break before the All Ireland quarter-final against one of the beaten provincial finalists. And if Tipperary beat Waterford on Sunday, Limerick won’t be able to meet Davy Fitzgerald’s men again so would face Dublin in a repeat of the 2009 All Ireland quarter-final.