Work to do before league, says Horan

LIMERICK are to schedule a series of challenge games in the coming weeks ahead of the start of the Allianz Football League on February 5.

LIMERICK are to schedule a series of challenge games in the coming weeks ahead of the start of the Allianz Football League on February 5.

After Limerick’s McGrath Cup campaign ended at the first hurdle for the second successive year, manager Maurice Horan confirmed that they would be seeking games in an effort to try out fresh talent ahead of the league.

“We have Leitrim in three weeks time and after that today we have to go back and lick our wounds,” said a disappointed Horan after many of his new players failed to shine against the Sigerson Cup champions UCC on Sunday last.

“You love to have a competitive game because you try to get as much as you can from challenge games but you can see competitive games offer more. Even the McGrath Cup against a strong college team is a tough arena to perform and some of our guys found it tough today,” accepted Horan.

“You have to be playing games at this stage - we will continue to look at a couple of more fellas,” he added.

“I thought we started the game very brightly for the first 25 minutes, even though we had a lot of turnover especially inside their ‘45. I thought we were game and up for it and then the goal knocked the stuffing out of us for some reason and I don’t know why, maybe we just happened to get tired around the same time. After that we seemed to drop a small bit in terms of energy.”

He continued: “It’s difficult when you are missing so many senior players to steady the ship when the flood gates opened there in the second half it was just one way traffic and we couldn’t stem the tide at all.”

“We started badly last year as well so we have just got to get on with it - they are finalising their plans for their championship competition and are looking to win the Sigerson in a couple of weeks. We have to go back to training on Tuesday and try and get ready for our league which is less than three weeks away.”

Horan used 13 players that were outside of the regular line-up last year.

“You try and get a balance - we didn’t intend to use John Cooke and Seanie Buckley today but Dinny Aherne was ruled out because of flu before the game and we just drafted in the two boys for experience.”

Although without the services of a number of players due to college commitments, Horan wants more of his players lining out for colleges.

“I think it is a good idea - I think Limerick guys need to be playing college football and Sigerson and Trench Cup - that is beneficial overall in the bigger picture. In terms of college players we would like to have them - we were missing Seamus O’Caroll, Eoghan O’Connor and the likes of Tom McCarthy, Ian Corbett, Tommie Griffin, Donal O’Sullivan,” said Horan.

“We are starting off the year and we didn’t want to lose by 12 points but the positive that I would take from it was that the first 25 minutes were good.”