Limerick looking forward to Laois clash

JUST three games into their management reign and already Donal O’Grady and Co have given game-time to 29 different players.

JUST three games into their management reign and already Donal O’Grady and Co have given game-time to 29 different players.

This Sunday (2.45) Limerick continue their push towards a Division Two Allianz League final spot when Laois visit the Gaelic Grounds.

Sunday’s second part of an inter-county double-header at the Ennis Road venue is a clash of the top two.

Limerick have won all three games so far while Laois have won two of three and are in second place on scoring difference, ahead of Carlow and Clare.

Limerick have amassed 4-54 in the wins over Clare, Westmeath and Down and have conceded 2-32.

Laois, who are yet to concede a goal, beat Antrim and Westmeath but lost to Carlow in the last round.

The midlanders have scored 3-29 to date and conceded 45-points.

Key to the Laois challenge will be Willie Hyland, who assisted LIT during their recent run to the Fitzgibbon Cup final, where they lost to UL. Hyland will face a number of current and former college colleagues - at least six of the players used by Limerick to-date have come through LIT.

Of the 29 players used, hampions Kilmallock lead the way with five representatives, followed by Murroe-Boher with four and two for Patrickswell, Croom, Blackrock and Na Piarsaigh.

O’Grady, and selectors; Ciaran Carey, Pat Heffernan, TJ Ryan and Jerry Wallace have clearly cast their net wide and others that could yet come into the frame include; Tadgh Flynn, Damien Reale, Declan Hannon, Donie Ryan, Mike O’Brien, Donie Reale, Mike Fitzgerald, Denis Moloney and Paudie O’Dwyer.

This Sunday, it is all but certain that management will continue to experiement but one player who will be marked absent on Sunday, is full back Stephen Lucey, who remains sidelined with injury for the remainder of the month of March.

After Sunday’s game against Brendan Fennelly’s Laois, Limerick will be on their travels in two weeks time when they play Carlow in Dr Cullen Park on March 27.

After Sunday, Limerick’s only remaining home fixture will be against Kerry on April 3 in Fitzgerald Park in Kilmallock.

Limerick players used to-date: Nicky Quaid (Effin), Brian Murray (Patrickswell); Stephen Walsh (Glenroe), Stephen Lucey (Croom), David Moloney (Blackrock), Wayne McNamara (Adare), Seamus Hickey (Murroe-Boher), David Breen (Na Piarsaigh), Tom Condon (Knockaderry), Gavin O’Mahony (Kilmallock), Brian Geary (Monaleen), Kieran O’Rourke (Bruree); Donal O’Grady (Granagh-Ballingarry), Paul Browne (Bruff), Mark O’Riordan (Croom), Paudie O’Brien (Kilmallock), Eoin Ryan (Kilmallock); Richie McCarthy (Blackrock), James Ryan (Garryspillane), Niall Moran (Ahane), Andrew O’Shaughnessy (Kilmallock), Kevin Downes (Na Piarsaigh), Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock), Sean Tobin (Murroe-Boher), Niall Maher (Doon), Pat Tobin (Murroe-Boher), Paudie McNamara (Murroe-Boher), Brendan Hourigan (Caherline), Thomas O’Brien (Patrickswell).

Meanwhile, Limerick are to raise concerns with Croke Park following last weekend’s Allianz League game in Portaferry.

At this Tuesday night’s County Board meeting, South Board secretary Hugh Murphy asked “could we bring to Central Council the conditions at the game last Sunday up in County Down. No county in Ireland should be allowed that for a big hurling game,” he added.

“If that was in Limerick, I guarantee you there would be headlines in all the national papers on Monday morning - I think it was scandalous,” said the Blackrock man.

“They are talking about promoting hurling in the weaker counties - well if that’s Down’s attempts to do it they should pull out of the league. This meeting should make a complaint to Central Council - it was unacceptable. People could walk onto the sideline and the programme was €2 for a piece of paper - a child in primary school would have made a better job of it. This is scandalous if we are trying to promote hurling,” outlined Murphy.

“They are talking about promoting hurling in London and in Ulster and we go up there and they can’t even print a programme or put the proper numbers of the Limerick team on the programme. People were allowed walk across the pitch - it wouldn’t have been tolerated at an under-21 match tonight,” said the divisional board official at Tuesday night’s monthly meeting.

“The game is done and won, but a player could have been badly injured up there in those conditions.”

Limerick GAA secretary Mike O’Riordan said: “we will raise your concerns with the CCCC”.