THE Limerick intermediate hurling team for Saturday’s Munster championship clash has been announced.
In a break from recent tradition the Munster intermediate hurling championship doesn’t provide the curtain-raiser to the senior encounter this weekend.
Instead Limerick and Tipperary clash in Nenagh the previous evening.
For Limerick it is the start of the battle back to the provincial championship final, which they lost last season.
But there is a new management at the helm.
With John Kiely elevated up to the senior back room team Patrickswell’s Natal O’Grady is now the team manager.
He is joined by selectors; Pat Davoren (Ballybrown), Ger Murphy (Templeglantine) and Robert O’Dea (Kilteely-Dromkeen).
“We have round four or five games played and we are training since back in March,” outlined O’Grady this Wednesday afternoon.
“We decided from the outset to pick a panel and work with that and in fairness everyone that we spoke to were keen to come on board,” he outlined.
“We have looked at it as a development squad in the same way as the last couple of years and have a panel of U-25s. I think we have 11 U’21s and the rest would be older,” he explained.
“There is talent out there in Limerick and we think that what we have is fairly reflective of what is in the county outside of the 30 or so that are on the senior panel. We identified guys and played a few in-house challenge games against the U-21s and finalised our panel and have pretty much trained one night a week since March,” said O’Grady.
The progression of Thomas Quaid, Tom Condon, Richie McCarthy and others from the development squad to the senior set-up now shows that the secondary competition is finally being utilised in the correct format in Limerick.
“Players can see that there is a path way for them from our panel to the senior panel and thats the way it should be. They know that if they impress there is a chance to get a senior call-up and thats why they are involved.”
He added: “Because the game is now on the Saturday there is a chance that the senior management will be there to watch it and that was never possible before when it was the curtain-raiser because they would have enough on their minds”.
“The intermediate grade is not like it was maybe five or six years ago and I really think that we have some good talent on display on Saturday,” said O’Grady, who continues the link between his panel and the county U-21 side as he is a selector with the John Fitzgerald managed underage team.
The Limerick side was announced after training on Tuesday night.
Captaining the team from centre forward is Damien Moloney of Effin, who is joined in the half forward line by club colleagues Conor Kearney and former senior panellist Eoin Ryan of Kilmallock. Ryan of Kilmallock.
Others like Eamonn Gleeson and Kyle Loftus were members of John Allen’s extended senior panel in January.
Saturday’s intermediate game is the second part of a double header with the Munster junior football championship between Tipperary and Kerry underway at 5.30.
LIMERICK - Ger Flynn (Croom); Stevie O’Reilly (Ballybrown), Dan Morrissey (Ahane), Conor Noonan (Feohanagh-Castlemahon); Eamonn Gleeson (Cappamore), Kyle Loftus (Ballybrown), Alan Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh); Jason Hayes (Bruff), Sean Herlihy (Monagea); Eoin Ryan (Kilmallock), Damien Moloney (Effin), Conor Kearney (Effin); Mikey Kiely (Ballybrown), Robert O’Donnell (Pallasgreen), Micheal Ryan (Doon). Subs: Seamus Murphy (Templeglantine), Anthony Harnett (Tournafulla), John Fitzgibbon (Adare), John Malone (Mungret), Mark Deegan (Hospital/Herbertstown), Sean Browne (Newcastle West), Thomas O’Callaghan (Monagea), Wayne Cronin (St. Patrick’s), Willie Griffin (Adare). Extended Panel - Denis O’Connor (Granagh-Ballingarry), Mark O’Connell (Glenroe), Jack Ahern (Killeedy), Niall Kennedy (Granagh-Ballingarry), Paudie Ahern (Kilteely-Dromkeen).