THE Limerick hurlers were given the week off after Saturday’s disappointing Division 1B final loss to Clare but Limerick manager John Allen has a busy couple of weeks ahead of him as Limerick step up their preparations ahead of the May 27 Munster championship showdown with Tipperary.
The panel reconvene this Saturday for a challenge game against the Limerick U-21s while they also have games pencilled in against Offaly and Dublin in the coming weeks. They play Offaly in Ballybrown on Saturday week before meeting Dublin in Cappamore the following weekend. The local club championship then takes centre stage on the weekend of May 13 and Allen will be hoping for a final runout against a Division 1A side on the weekend of May 20.
He was hugely disappointed to lose to Clare last weekend but was happy to look at the positives and feels that Limerick showed much improvement over the seven-week campaign.
“Obviously it was very disappointing to lose the way we did the other night. We got eight points up but Clare kept coming at us and it is disappointing to lose like that.
“You’re always going to get a certain amount of chances and we had two good goal chances in the first half but didn’t take either of them. Clare then got a run on us and we couldn’t hold on.
“It was something similar against Offaly when they came back at us but I think we have come on massively since the first game against Clare and we now just have to get on with it and start building towards the championship.
“We have a couple of games planned and we want to get a good look at everyone on the panel over the next couple of weeks.
“The short nature of the league didn’t allow for much experimentation and we didn’t get to look at as many players we would have liked to. We were on the back foot after the first Clare game and we have some players who didn’t get a chance.”
Indeed the current structure of the league is something that Allen isn’t happy with as he reckons too many teams are marginalised from the top level.
“The league by its nature is supposed to be about playing games but this structure doesn’t give you enough. I can’t see why they can’t allow all 13 teams in the Liam McCarthy Cup be in Division 1 - ok there might be some one-sided games but as it is too many teams are marginalised.
“Next year you will have Galway or Dublin down in Division 1B and it will be hard to get up again. It’s hard on counties like Limerick and Wexford and Offaly. You could spend four or five years outside the top division and never get a chance to play the very best teams - that could be half a player’s career without playing the best teams.”
For now though, Allen has just one game on his mind - Tipperary in Thurles at the end of May.
“That’s going to be a huge game for us and we’ve a lot of work to do.”