Limerick hurling boss pleased by final progress

Limerick hurling manager John Allen
LIMERICK manager John Allen is happy his side are heading in the right direction after their win over Offaly secured their place in the Division 1B final of the Allianz Hurling League.

LIMERICK manager John Allen is happy his side are heading in the right direction after their win over Offaly secured their place in the Division 1B final of the Allianz Hurling League.

Limerick beat Offaly on a scoreline of 0-21 to 3-8 - and they are certain of a final place even before this Sunday’s final group game against Wexford in the Gaelic Grounds.

“Mission accomplished,” said Allen outside the winning dressing room in O’Connor Park in Tullamore on Sunday, “We’ve four wins out of four and we’re in the final now so we have to be happy with that.”

Limerick conceded two goals in the opening ten minutes but, with the help of the wind, fought back well to overtake Offaly in the second half.

“The fact that theyscored two goals in the first half made it difficult on us but we did make a fight out of it.

“From our point of view, we played wll in the first half but we did concede two goals. We felt we had to play well in the second half but at the same time we knew that five points wasn’t a big lead with that wind.

“It was a workmanlike performance and we were pleased with the way lads got on.

“I’ve said all the time that we’re preparing well all the time but we just weren’t bringing it to the pitch. But then we did start to play well. I thought we played quite well today. We did concede three goals but we did play quite well. The conditions were hard. We’re in the final and that’s where we wanted to be. Finals are for winning and that’s next now.”

Limerick’s final opponents are almost certainly going to be Dublin - assuming they beat Carlow next Sunday.

The Division 1B final is scheduled for Sunday, April 7, but with the Limerick footballers playing Clare that same day and with it also clashing with the Munster v Harlequins Heineken Cup quarter-final, it is possible it’ll be moved to the Saturday night, just as last year’s final against Clare was. Thurles or Portlaoise are the two possible venues.

A win for Limerick would secure promotion to Division 1A next year as well as a place in this year’s Division 1 semi-finals.

And as well as being pleased with Limerick’s last two wins, Allen is also happy that some of the new players are performing well.

“Mark Carmody did very well,” he said of the yooung defender who made his first senior league appearance for Limerick when introduced as a first-half sub for the unfortunate Shane O’Neill.

“He had played very well with UL in the Fitzgibbon Cup this year but he was fighting a tough battle with Tom Condon in one corner and Stephen Wlash in the other and you saw Alan Dempsey did very well too. It’s great that you have four fellas like that vying for positions.”

Condon was ruled out because of injury during the week while Walsh was named in the side but didn’t start because he was sick. In attack, Niall Moran was ruled out because of a rib injury.

“We didn’t start Shane Dowling and we didn’t start Niall Moran so that augurs well for competition too. Hopefully we’re starting to come good.”