Limerick minor hurlers face Cork in championship opener

LIMERICK bid for back-to-back wins over Cork at minor hurling level when they travel to Pairc ui Chaoimh on Wednesday evening.

LIMERICK bid for back-to-back wins over Cork at minor hurling level when they travel to Pairc ui Chaoimh on Wednesday evening.

Shane Fitzgibbon’s side must travel to Leeside as they seek to repeat last year’s success over The Rebels.

Limerick include three of last year’s side - Shane Irwin at corner back, Barry O’Connell at centre back and Kevin O’Brien at corner forward.

Ardscoil Ris provide five of the starting line-up, while Patrickswell have the greatest club representation with four in the starting team.

Limerick include two U-16 players - forwards Ronan Lynch and Cian Lynch. Also in the side are two dual players. Both Darragh Stapleton and David Condron already faced Cork this season in the Munster minor football championship and will be looking to reverse that result.

“We know we face a huge challenge. We have to go down to Cork and we will face a huge backlash from last year when we beat them,” explained manager Shane Fitzgibbon, who is joined in the back room team by coach Ger Cunningham (Knockainey), selector Mike Galligan (Claughaun) and liaison officer Michael O’Connor (Na Piarsaigh).

“We have a great panel and we are looking forward to it. Preparations have gone well and the lads are looking forward to it, while not under estimating the task at hand.”

Limerick travelled to Cork last week for a session in Pairc Ui Chaoimh and Fitzgibbon reports all in readiness for tonight.

While a first provincial title since 1984 is the ultimate target, the manager said the goal was “two fold”.

“We also want to ensure that players are ready to come through to play senior hurling for Limerick. We want them to understand the demands of inter-county hurling and there is evidence that players are now coming through.”

If Limerick win they will advance directly to the Munster semi-final at the end of June but if defeat is their lot, they would be back in action again next Saturday in the backdoor section against the losing side from tonight’s Kerry v Tipperary clash.

LIMERICK - Darragh Stapleton (Doon); Shane Irwin (Bruff), Richie English (Doon), James Carrig (Patrickswell); Diarmuid Byrnes (Patrickswell), Barry O’Connell (Kildimo-Pallaskenry), Evan Fitzgerald (Claughaun); Brian Finn (Bruff), Kieran Cleary (Knockainey), Ronan Lynch (Na Piarsaigh), David Condron (Granagh-Ballingarry), Eoin O’Farrell (Croom); Kevin O’ Brien (Patrickswell), Bryan Griffin (Ballybrown), Cian Lynch (Patrickswell). Subs: David Lynch (Croagh-Kilfinny), Eamon Leen (Kilmallock), Stephen Rya (Doon), Darragh Donovan (Doon), Jody Hannon (Adare), Diarmuid Dee (Mungret St Pauls), Liam O’Sullivan (Knockaderry), Pat Ryan (Doon), Andrew La Touche Cosgrave (Monaleen).