Limerick SFC kicks off this weekend

THE Limerick senior football championship kicks-off this weekend with six games.

THE Limerick senior football championship kicks-off this weekend with six games.

Jerome O’Connell ranks the 12 clubs in this preview of the county championship.

1. MONALEEN

Last Season: Champions - needed some favourable results to get out of group but then came to life and beat Newcastle West in final.

Management: Micheal McDermott, Seanie O’Brien, Eddie Cosgrave, Gerry Collins

Captain: Muiris Gavin

Key player: Ger Collins - now in his second season the inter-county man is a finisher than any side would cherish.

One to watch: Donal O’Sullivan - goalkeepers are often taken for granted but the U-21 player came to his sides rescue numerous times last year.

Comings and goings: Luke Kavanagh (England), Conor Walsh (Kildare) and Shane Leonard (Australia) are all gone, while Graham O’Connell and Ronan O’Connor are Kerry natives looking to make championship debuts.

Prospects: The team to beat and will only be denied a hat-trick if they fail to find early season form in ‘group of death’.

2. FR CASEYS

Last Season: Beaten by Monaleen in the semi-final after topping their group.

Management: Tom Buggy Fitzgerald (Manager), Humphrey Doody (coach), Seamus McNamara, Donal Casey, Gerard O’Connor (selectors).

Captain: Eamon Flaherty

Key player: Paudie Browne - back from Australia the versatile inter-county man will offer leadership to a young side.

one to watch: Derry O’Connor - the Limerick U-21 captain is one of the most exciting prospects but needs to find consistency.

Comings and goings: Paudie Browne is back from Australia and Mike Sheehan will return next month from the US, but Eoin McEnery and John Browne are in England, while others plan to go abroad for the summer.

Prospects: Underage success means they have options aplenty but the consistency of winning All-County leagues need to progress into championship.

3. DROMCOLLOGHER-BROADFORD

Last Season: Stumbled into the knockout stages and lost out in semi-finals to Newcastle West

Management: Mike Fahy (manager), Jerome Stack (coach), Ben Noonan (selector).

Captain: Pat Donnelly

Key player: Seanie Buckley - always appeared to come up with the goods and scores when needed.

Coming and goings: Derry McCarthy is back in their plans after mising much of last season and with Buckley back from injury offers options in the middle third.

One to watch: Micheal Brosnan - the nippy corner forward has added fresh impetus along with the Noonan twins

Prospects: Still holding onto their proud record of always reaching the knockout stages but are not the force of the last decade.

4. NEWCASTLE WEST

Last Season: Beaten finalists with two wins over Drom-Broadford their highlights

Management: Mike Quilligan (manager), Brian McGuiness, Brendan Stack , Senan Kelly, Jerry O’Sullivan, John Collins

Captain: Michael Dowling

Key player: Stephen Kelly - despite underage talent, Kelly remains the driving force when at full tilt

one to watch: Ian Corbett - all will look to monitor his progress in terms of a future inter-county option.

Comings and goings: Working from last season’s panel but boosted by return of Sean Cronin to action.

Prospects: Appears to have been unrest in the camp in the early months of the year and will need to be galvanised to match last season.

5. BALLYLANDERS

Last Season: Lost in quarter-finals to Monaleen.

Management: Mikey Fox (manager), Andy Lacey (coach), Tom Fox (selector).

Key player: Kieran O’Callaghan - carries much of the scoring threat and on song is a certain match winner.

One to watch: Danny Frewen - exciting attacking talent but needs to start shining at senior club level.

Comings and goings: Tom Lee is due back from Australia but will miss the opening round and maybe even the second round.

Prospects: Eamon O’Neill departs after six seasons as manager but they appear to continue to rely on the Murphy brothers too much.

6. ADARE

Last Season: Failed to match the final appearance of the previous year as they stumbled through group games.

Management: Padraig Clarke (manager), Tommy Byrnes, Sean McGuinness, Joe McCarthy (selectors).

Key player: Stephen Lavin - still the leader on the field and drives forward with intent to inpsire others.

One to watch: Robbie Burke - a member of the forward unit that played Cork and Kerry in Munster minor championship.

Comings and goings: Liam Costelloe and Mikey Lyons are both abroad, along with O’Connell brothers Stephen and Andrew.

Prospects: Always hard to combine senior hurling and football for all in the club and getting off to a winning start in football is key to maintain interest.

7. ST PATRICKS

Last Season: Lost to Drom-Broadford at the quarter-final stage.

Management: Tom Downes (manager), Niall McNamara and Colm O’Brien (coaches), Darren Hanrahan, Kieran Dore (selectors).

Captain: Dermot Phelan.

Key player: John Mullane - from frees and from play a key scorer for the city side.

One to watch: Jason Mullins - the latest member of the family to step up to senior level and a lively corner forward that can score.

Comings and goings: Will be without Conor Kavanagh as he departs for Australia this weekend.

Prospects:Preparations not ideal with soccer and rugby commitments but will get stronger as summer progreses.

8. ST KIERANS

Last Season: Just narrowly missed out on the knockout stages after progressive season.

Management: Niall Crowley, John English (coaches), Timmy Crowley, Jack Histon, Paddy O’Connor (selectors).

Captain: Tommy Quinn

Key player:Johnny McCarthy - be it defence or attack he inpires all round him.

One to watch: Darragh Treacy - one of many to graduate from impressive underage teams and Limerick training should benefit.

Comings and goings: James Windle will be absent after cruciate injury of last season but Johnny McCarthy and Jim O’Donovan are back training after recent lay-offs.

Prospects: Developing nicely for last two years and must target a knockout place this year.

9. ST SENANS

Last Season: Inconsistent in group stages.

Management: Kieran Culhane (manager), Mike Mullane, Vincent Kelly, Joe Lane (selectors)

Captain: Damien Fitzgibbon

Key player: Ian Ryan - on form he can win any game but others will need to be on form to supply ball.

One to watch: Francis O’Riordan - observers will monitor if the U-21 player progresses this season.

Comings and goings: Goalkeeper Anthony Russell has emigrated and joins Chris Hayes and Wayne Enright, who had departed last season.

Prospects: Still plenty talent in the estuary club but hasn’t materialised in recent seasons and no reason why can’t target place in business end.

10. GALBALLY

Last Season: Found their feet well in first season and did Monaleen a big favour when defeating Adare in final round.

Management: Damien O’Connell (manager), Jason Donovan (coach).

Captain: Aidan Noonan

Key player: James Ryan - the heart beat of the team and chief ball winner.

One to watch: Patrick O’Donnell - the U-21 player can develop into a top class forward with an eye for goal.

Comings and goings: Liam Casey is in Australia while another one or two will miss some rounds in the summer as they go abroad.

Prospects: Will look to build on last season and have avoided many of the big guns in the draw.

11. BALLYSTEEN

Last Season: Just beat Pallasgreen in play-off to maintain senior status

Management: Enda McDaid, John Neville, Tom Hayes.

Captain: Shane Gallagher

Key player: Pa Ranahan - the launchpad for many of their attacks and along with his captain still hugley influencial.

One to watch: Danny Neville - pacy attacker that knows where the posts are and should shine this year.

Comings and goings: Roger Somers is back in the county to bolster their defence while youth could get its fling with Rat Barron and Alan O’Shaughnessy pushing for inclusion.

Prospects: Lost so many players last season that maintaining status was noteworthy. A west final appearance has boosted early season confidence.

12. MOUNTCOLLINS

Last Season: Intermediate champions with replay win over Oola.

Management: Timmy Walsh

Captain: Eric O’Connor, Seamus Hickey, Paudie Naughton, David O’Connell (selectors), Kevin Beasley (coach).

Key player: Shane Gleeson - a key player around the middle third and can also chip in with scores.

One to watch: Stephen Cahill - a county minor this year and could figure in the half back line.

Comings and goings: Both Bernard (Luxemborg) and Mike McCarthy could miss out but the return of Mike Curtin and Brian Lenihan has bolstered their options.

Prospects:Will be anxoius to get points on the board and the round one tie against Adare could yet set the tone for the year.