Limerick footballers ready for Clare challenge

THE Limerick senior footballers bid to get back to winning ways in the McGrath Cup as they kick-off their 2013 season this Sunday.

THE Limerick senior footballers bid to get back to winning ways in the McGrath Cup as they kick-off their 2013 season this Sunday.

Limerick play Mick O’Dwyer’s Clare side at 2pm in Foynes in the quarter-final of the McGrath Cup.

Maurice Horan is yet to taste victory as a manager in the early season provincial competition with Limerick losing to UCC (2012) and Cork (2011).

Indeed Limerick have won only one of their last six outings in the competition.

Limerick have not won a game in the early season competition since beating Waterford IT in 2010.

Limerick won the last of their five McGrath Cup titles in 2005, but have since lost finals in 2007 and 2008.

Victory on Sunday would book a semi-final place against either Kerry or UCC.

Elsewhere in the quarter-finals next Sunday, UL travel to play Waterford, while Tipperary play Cork.

Speaking this Tuesday, Limerick manager Maurice Horan said that Sunday’s clash with Mick O’Dywer’s Clare was about gaining “momentum”.

“We have been working hard in training in terms of achieving consistency,” outlined Horan.

“Gaining promotion out of Division Four is very important but it is a very competitive division. We will focus on every game individually,” he outlined.

Ahead of the seasonal debut on Sunday, Horan, Joe Lee and Michael McGeehin should have a strong panel to select from.

“Our recent record is not hectic in the McGrath Cup. We have a settled panel now and we will be looking to put in a performance on Sunday. Down in Foynes we will want to perform for our supporters,” said Horan.

“We are looking to get off to a good start. Clare have a game played and they have the Micko factor at the moment as well,” explained Horan.

And, Clare have beat Limerick in both encounters last season - league and championship.

“That was last year - that is now merely a historical fact,” said Horan, when asked if the heart-breaking championship defeat would be to the forefront of minds.

“We can’t live in the past - we want to get off to a winning start and get another competitive game under our belts,” he said.

Limerick prepared for Sunday with a 1-11 to 1-9 win over UL last weekend.

Limerick lined out with Brendan Donnelly in goals. The defence was Damien Quaid, Cian Coady, Lorcan O’Dwyer, Stephen Lavin, John Riordan and Pa Ranahan.

In midfield were Tom Lee and Paul Kinnerk.

The attack was James O’Meara, Darragh Treacy, Danny Neville, Derry O’Connor, Ger Collins and Ian Ryan.

Limerick will be without Iain Corbett (IT Tralee) and Donal O’Sullivan (NUI Galway) as they are ‘cup-tied’.

Also out, due to injury, will be John Galvin, Stephen Lucey, Jim O’Donovan, Seanie Buckley, John Cooke and the returning Mark O’Riordan.

Ahead of Sunday, Limerick have released a 34-man panel for the McGrath Cup and league.

All of the panel from the final game of 2012 v Kildare are back.

The only newcomers are Danny Neville, Sean Sheehan and Brendan Donnelly.

Mark O’Riordan returns, while John Galvin, Stephen Lavin and Tom Lee are also back after missing the closing period of last year.

LIMERICK 2013 PANEL - Brian Scanlon (Gerald Griffins), Donal O’Sullivan (Monaleen), Brendan Donnelly (Na Piarsaigh), Andrew Lane (St Senans), Johnny McCarthy (St Kierans), Lorcan O’Dwyer (Pallasgreen), John Riordan (Fr Caseys), Stephen Lucey (Croom), Pa Ranahan (Ballysteen), Damien Quaid (St Marys Sean Finns), Mark O’Riordan (Croom), Mike O’Keeffe (Newcastle West), Mike Sheehan (Fr Caseys), James O’Meara (Ballysteen), Stephen Lavin (Adare), Sean Sheehan (St Marys Sean Finns), Cian Coady (Na Piarsaigh), Paudie Browne (Fr Caseys), Jim O’Donovan (St Kierans), Seanie Buckley (Dromcollogher-Broadford), Tom Lee (Ballylanders), John Galvin (Croom), Bobby O’Brien (Bruff), Paul Kinnerk (Monaleen), Darragh Treacy (St Kierans), Iain Corbett (Newcastle West), Eoghan O’Connor (St Marys Sean Finns), Stephen Kelly (Newcastle West), Ger Collins (Monaleen), Seamus O’Carroll (Cappagh-Kilcornan), Ian Ryan (St Senans), Derry O’Connor (Fr Caseys), Danny Neville (Ballysteen), John Cooke (Bruff).

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