Fixtures mount up as O’Grady calls for U-21 switch

Limerick hurling manager Donal O’Grady has called for “common sense” to prevail as the Limerick U-21s are fixed to play Clare in the Munster semi-final just three days before his senior team play Dublin in the All Ireland quarter-final.

Limerick hurling manager Donal O’Grady has called for “common sense” to prevail as the Limerick U-21s are fixed to play Clare in the Munster semi-final just three days before his senior team play Dublin in the All Ireland quarter-final.

Leo O’Connor’s U-21 team are scheduled to play Clare in Cusack Park in Ennis on Thursday week, July 21, while O’Grady’s senior side face Dublin on Sunday, July 24.

Kevin Downes, Declan Hannon, Graeme Mulcahy and Sean O’Brien are all part of both panels and O’Grady reckons that the Munster Council should postpone the U-21 game.

“It’s not fair on anyone,” he said after the senior’s 3-22 to 0-12 win over Antrim in Parnell Park on Saturday night.

“If the GAA are serious about burnout they’ll have to put the game back. Obviously it’s not my decision, it’s a decision for the Munster council - but maybe common sense will prevail. The All Ireland quarter-final is on the Sunday - they’re hardly going to ask players to play three days earlier.

“From a player welfare point and purely medical point of view and prevention of injury you wouldn’t play a full match on a Thursday night and then go out on a Sunday and play a full match again. That’s a disaster.

“I’m not quite sure what happens - we might have to do a Ger Loughnane and pull them,” he laughed. “Or like the Kerry footballers a couple of years ago Gooch Cooper picked up a miraculous injury. But we’ll have to look at it. Maybe the county board will try and get it put back.”

Limerick GAA secretary Mike O’Riordan is hoping the issue will be resolved this week.

“We can’t confirm anything at the moment but hopefully it will be sorted in the next couple of days.”

O’Grady already has a number of injury worries ahead of the Dublin game. Paul Browne (foot) and Graeme Mulcahy (ankle) missed the game against Antrim while Donal O’Grady (shoulder) and Kevin Downes (calf) were both forced off at half time on Saturday. Damian Reale, meanwhile, has only recently returned to light jogging after getting injured playing with his club.

“Donal O’Grady’s injury is fairly serious,” added the Limerick manager. “He got a massive tackle on his shoulder and has a problem with his AC joint. He wasn’t able to put his hand above his shoulder so we had to take him off. Kevin Downes hasn’t really trained.

“He didn’t train before the Waterford match and he didn’t train last week so we have to just give it complete rest now for the week and see how he goes.

“Paul Browne has a broken bone - there’s not much we can do except let it heal. And Graeme Mulcahy has an ankle injury and we’re hoping it will get better with treatment but we don’t know how long he’ll be out.”

As for the match itself, O’Grady was happy with the win but said that Antrim didn’t deserve to be so far adrift at the final whistle.

“Their numner 11 was sent off half way during the first half which was a big loss to them. Up to then they were more impressive than us.

“We imposed our game on the game itself after that and once we got David Breen’s goal things opened up for us. But I don’t think we deserved to beat them by that much. We weren’t that much ahead of them.”

And with Dublin up next in the quarter-final, O’Grady says his side still need to improve a lot.

“We probably need Dublin to come back a bit to us performance-wise and the problem is that they will be mad to show that the Kilkenny result for them wasn’t quite what it should have been.

“We’ve worked all year and hopefully we can play well. If we’re good enough to win it then fair enough.”