CHAMPIONS Monaleen have turned to early morning training in an effort to kick-start their Limerick SFC title defence.
This Saturday night they face old-foes Dromcollogher-Broadford - the make-or-break game for the Castletroy men takes place in the Limerick GAA grounds in Mick Neville Park in Rathkale and has a 6.45 start.
It forms a double-header with another side fight for their lives, St Patricks. The Rhebogue men play St Kierans at 8.15.
Champions Monaleen are seeking a hat-trick of Limerick SFC titles but have failed to secure a win in their opening two games of the group stages.
Monaleen manager Micheal McDermott (who was also Clare inter-county football manager this season) has put Monaleen through their paces with some 7am training sessions since the last round of action back in June when they needed a dramatic late score to snatch a draw against Ballysteen.
Currently sitting at the foot of Group One, they need at least two wins from the final three rounds of action to progress to the knockout stages.
Fellow Limerick city side, St Patricks are at the foot of Group Two after two defeats. They face a St Kierans side that boast a 100% record.
Abbeyfeale’s Fr Caseys also have two wins and they play Adare in Newcastle West on Friday evening at 7.00. Already assured of a place in the Limerick SHC quarter-finals, Adare’s footballers have one win and one defeat to their credit.
The third and final game in Group Two is the meeting of Mountcollins and Galbally in Feenagh on Sunday evening.
The leaders in Group One are Newcastle West. Last season’s beaten finalists play Ballysteen in Rathkale on Friday evening. At the same time in Ballingarry, Ballylanders play St Senans.
The County IFC championship also returns this weekend.
City rivals Mungret and Na Piarsaigh clash in the game of the round in the county intermediate football championship.
The game takes place in Claughaun this Sunday evening with a quarter-final place for the winner.
Interestingly, Limerick senior football manager Maurice Horan will be corner forward for Na Piarsaigh will wing back for Mungret will be Clare senior football coach Micheal Cahill.
Both sides are undefeated in Group One.
Last season’s beaten finalists Oola will look to get back on track when they play winless Croom in Bruff on Friday.
Surprisingly, another side without a win are Hospital-Herbertstown. They play Bruff in a local that could yet see either make a late dash for a quarter-final place.
John Cooke could be absent for Bruff, who will also look to Bobby O’Brien to build on his Limerick performances.
Just like Group One, Group Two is led by a Limerick city side.
Claughaun and Pallasgreen top the group with a win and a draw to their credit. Claughaun play Gerald Griffins, who are without a win, while Pallas face Bruree in Hospital.
The third game brings together St Marys Sean Finns and Athea.
The Rathkeale side will need to win this game to move up the group table to justify the good form that they have shown. Inter-county men Damien Quaid and Eoghan O’Connor will be key players.