Limerick hurlers must improve, says Allen

LIMERICK hurling manager John Allen is looking for a big improvement from his side in the remainder of this year’s league games after they only barely got the better of Antrim in the Gaelic Grounds last Sunday.

LIMERICK hurling manager John Allen is looking for a big improvement from his side in the remainder of this year’s league games after they only barely got the better of Antrim in the Gaelic Grounds last Sunday.

Antrim were well beaten by Limerick in last year’s championship but despite the absence of their Loughiel Shamrocks contingent, they played most of the good hurling for long stretches. A goal from half-time sub David Breen proved crucial but Allen wants much more from his side.

“We were very poor and I think mentally we weren’t right. Maybe we thought we’d always get the scores that we needed but at times we didn’t even look like getting chances, never mind goals.

“If you’re in the wrong mindset, it can be difficult to switch it in the middle of the game but it was a disappointing performance and we have to be much better than that.”

Limerick have a spare weekend coming up before they entertain Carlow in the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday week. But a number of Allen’s men are in action over the next week between Fitzgibbon Cup, Railway Cup and the local U-21 championship.

Conor Allis, who cried off from the Antrim game because of a throat infection, is involved with UCD in the Fitzgibbon Cup in Galway while Declan Hannon is with UL and Adrian Breen is with UCC.

Then there are six Limerick players involved with Munster in the Railway Cup final against Connacht in Ennis. Tom Condon, Donal O’Grady, Wayne McNamara, Shane Dowling, Gavin O’Mahony and Graeme Mulcahy all played in the semi-final win over Ulster and are expected to be involved again.

Meanwhile, Allen is hoping that Nickey Quaid will be fit for the Carlow game. Quaid missed the win over Antrim because of an ankle injury, and his place was taken by Aaron Murphy who made his first league start.

“Nickey went over on his ankle on Tuesday night and wasn’t able to play. He may go for an MRI scan this week but hopefully it’s going to clear up.”

Kilmallock’s Barry Hennessy was brought in as back up while Quaid’s brother Tommy also has considerable experience in goals too, even if he played in attack for Limerick in last year’s league and championship.

Pat Begley is another on the injured list as he struggles with a troublesome knee. He went from game to game during LIT’s run to the quarter-finals of the Fitzgibbon Cup but is now also expected to go for an MRI scan.

Limerick play Carlow on Sunday week, March 10, in the Gaelic Grounds before playing Dublin in Croke Park six days later.

“Carlow were very competitive against Wexford last weekend and we can’t take them for granted or start thinking about any other game until we get over them,” added Allen. “We need to start improving straight away.”