Declan Hannon and Kevin Downes are again ruled out of the Limerick hurling team for Sunday’s Allianz League clash with Wexford.
Wexford have brought the best out of Limerick in recent years and another win over The Model County would go along way towards kick-starting 2012 in earnst.
Last Summer’s win in the Gaelic Grounds and in Wexford Park in 2009 are two of the more memorable performances from the Limerick senior hurlers in recent years.
Once again so much hinges on Sunday’s game - for both sides.
Both sides have already lost in Division 1B and another defeat would pretty much end their involvement in the busy end of the league.
Limerick’s cause is not helped by injuries to young attackers Declan Hannon, Kevin Downes and Shane Dowling.
Hannon (groin) and Downes (hamstring) will again be absent in Wexford), while Dowling (dead leg) will hopefully recover in time to take his place.
“We just need to give him time and hopefully he will be ok - the outlook is positive on him,” explained Limerick selector John Kiely this Wednesday.
He didn’t train on Tuesday, but there were some welcome additions to the training session with Brian Geary, Sean Tobin and Mark O’Riordan taking a full part in training.
“It was a great lift really to see the lads returning and coming after the win in Laois,” said Kiely.
“Things are beginning to take shape for us - we had 27 out on the field on Tuesday night training and we have Seamus (Hickey) back from the US in three weeks and hopefully the other injuries will clear up shortly,” said the former inter-county defender, who was Limerick intermediate manager last season.
“Things have been bouyed up by the return of the three boys and the win in Laois. We have bigger numbers out at training and you can see more intensity to it,” remarked Kiely.
A “step in the right direction,” was KIely’s description of the Laois win.
But the selector John Kiely doesn’t hide from the fact that there is much room still for improvement.
“Next Sunday is another step up. What we are looking for is to make those step-ups over the next few weeks. Obviously we want to win the games but its about performance as well for us.”
He added: “We want to keep up the momentum from last Sunday”.
“Every game is going to be difficult. Sunday is huge for both teams if we want to be going for a place in the top two of the division. Both teams need to win. Its a tough division and there was never going to be much between any of the teams” said Kiely.
“Definitley we want to win down there but just as important is that we see another improvement from last Sunday. What we don’t want is another slack performance like we had two weeks ago.”
Limerick won the last encounter between the sides in the All-Ireland Qualifiers last Summer, 1-22 to 2-13.
“That could be more motivation for them,” said Kiely with a smile.
“Form really goes out the window in big games and on Sunday both teams will know the importance of winning,” he said.
“Step one of us was to win in Laois and now the next step is this weekend and hopefully we can keep up our intensity.”
The bookies make Limerick the 8/15 favourties to extend their winning run, while Wexford are available at 7/4.
The Liam Dunne managed Wexford lost to Antrim in round one but bonced back with a win over Offaly last Sunday.
Supporters travelling to Wexford on Sunday, should be mindful that the hurling tie is the second part of a double-header with the Wexford footballers entertaining Roscommon in Division Three of Allianz League at 12.45.