THE 2013 Irish Wire Products Limerick senior football championship commences this Friday evening.
The 2013 Limerick SFC appears to be one of the more open in recent years.
Dromcollogher-Broadford have been the standard bearers in Limerick club circles in recent years but it appears that the chasing pack are getting closer and closer.
For one reason or another a case can be built for up to four or five of the challengers to Mike Fahy’s men.
There appears to be a lot of talk about the introduction of fresh talent into the Drom-Broadford ranks this season and perhaps in itself that is an acceptance that their leaders cannot carry on forever.
That said Drom-Broadford will be the team that all will have to beat if they are to lift the Fr Casey Cup next October.
The champions have Micheal Reidy as captain this season.
“What happened last year is gone and this is the start of a new championship,” said Reidy at the launch of the championship at the premises of the sponsor Irish Wire Products Ltd on the Dock Road.
“Every year is the start of a new season with new goals and maybe a few fresh faces, which will hopefully make the break. We have no retirements and a lot of young fellas coming through and for us to stay senior they need to make the grade,” outlined Reidy, who was previously club captain in 2000 when they lost the county final to Fr Caseys.
“This year was the first year that we went into the league for a number of years - mainly because we have a lot of younger players with us,” outlined Reidy, who was man of the match in the county final last season.
“This year for sure we feel a good start is critical - we are an older squad as opposed to others and we feel we need to get points on the board early.”
The start could not have been any more difficult with Fr Csaeys on the horizon.
“We are really looking forward to it - ourselves and Caseys go back a long way to 2000 when we first met in this grade. We had many good battes with them and Im sure it will be a good entertaining game.”
He continued: “I’m sure they are still smarting from the defeat in the semi-final last year when they were going reasonably well.”
Aside from Sunday evening, Fr Caseys should be among the chief challengers to the champions as the championship progresses.
In their inter-county men Paudie Browne, John Riordan, Mike Sheehan and Derry O’Connor they have leaders, energy and forward talent.
Mixed with some of their underage talent, Dave Keating and Humphrey Doody will hope to get their charges into the knockout stages and take it from there.
Beaten in the last two county finals, Newcastle West have rejuvenated their efforts this season with the arrival of Teddy McCarthy as manager.
And, they have brought in Billy Lee as coach.
Building momentum is key for the magpies and getting through round one unscathed should be the number one target.
Next come Monaleen.
Hugely disappointing last season, there will surely be a kick-back from the former champions.
They will need to find new talent and how soon they can adjust to senior club football will determine their influence on the season.
Next on the contenders would be Ballysteen, Ballylanders and St Kierans.
Saturday’s meeting of Ballylanders and Ballysteen will be key for both - Ballysteen carry momentum into the championship and will look to at least reach the knockout stages and for this round one victory could be vital.
St Kieran are in the other group and the long term involvement of Johnny McCarthy and Jim O’Donovan is vital.
With all flying fit they showed last season that progression to teh business end of the championship is within their grasp.
In the intermediate championship, all eyes will focus on the progression of St Senan’s but injuries to Ian Ryan and Andy Lane will not help them.