Downes out and Hannon a doubt for Limerick hurlers

LIMERICK attacker Declan Hannon is “extremely doubtful” for Sunday’s crucial Allianz Hurling League clash away to Laois.

LIMERICK attacker Declan Hannon is “extremely doubtful” for Sunday’s crucial Allianz Hurling League clash away to Laois.

The rising star missed the 14-point defeat to Clare in round one and continues to struggle with a groin problem.

The Adare man has not returned to full training with Limerick and now looks likely to miss out on Thursday when UL play UCC in the Freshers Hurling final in Mallow.

And, as Limerick await news on Hannon, it was confirmed that fellow attacker Kevin Downes has been ruled out of the game.

Last year’s Munster championship winning U-21 captain is out of the Laois tie with a hamstring complaint.

Limerick manager John Allen is to wait until training on Thursday night to finalise his team for the trip to Portlaoise as the Shannonsiders bid to kick-start their Division 1B campaign.

The Limerick manager was also awaiting reports from last night’s round of county U-21 hurling championship matches with a number of his panel involved with their clubs.

On top of the Hannon injury, Limerick will be without long term injury victims; Brian Geary, Mark O’Riordan and Sean Tobin, while Seamus Hickey remains abroad.

And, teenager Shane Dowling is also carrying a knock but not rated as doubtful as Hannon.

“I would say Declan is extremely doubtful - he is no more than 60-40 to play and he would be a huge loss obviously,” said John Allen.

After the disappointment of the heavy loss to Clare, Allen reports a noticeable difference in training.

“We have had three fantastic nights of training - it is obvious that everything has ratcheted up a couple of notches,” explained the Limerick manager.

“I thought that training was going well anyway, but there is a difference in the past week,” said Allen.

The bookies make Limerick the 2/9 favourites with Laois available at 7/2 but John Allen has warned that the trip to O’Moore Park in Portlaoise will not be straight forward.

“I had a look at the game from last year and for the first 20 minutes or so Laois were on top. It was certainly not all one way traffic,” explained Allen.

Laois, now managed by former Cork dual star Teddy McCarthy, lost heavily to Offaly in round one.

Meanwhile, the Limerick footballers will also be in action this weekend when they entertain Kilkenny in Newcastle West on Saturday.

Like the hurlers, Maurice Horan’s football side are bidding to bounce back from a league defeat to Clare last Sunday in Ennis.