THE Limerick senior hurlers are planning to open their National Hurling League campaign without the services of their Na Piarsaigh contingent.
The Limerick club champions play Galway’s Portumna in the All-Ireland club semi-final on Saturday February 8 as they bid to reach the St Patrick’s Day final.
However, win or lose, their large representation on the inter-count panel won’t be rushed back into Limerick action.
The TJ Ryan and Donal O’Grady managed Limerick will play Cork in Pairc Ui Rinn on February 15 in round one of the league.
With no final in Division 1B this season and only the top team in the group gaining promotion to the top tier the clash of Limerick and Cork is already assuming a make-or-break quality.
But even if Na Piarsaigh suffer defeat to the Joe Canning led Portumna, their stars like Kevin Downes, Shane Dowling, David Breen, Alan Dempsey and Cathal King aren’t to be called upon for the crucial game in Cork.
Also absent for the fast approaching rematch of the 2013 Munster final will be injured trio Declan Hannon, Seamus Hickey and Paudie Ahern.
Cork have injury worries of their own and have revealed that Pa Cronin, Conor O’Sullivan and Seamus Harnedy will miss the Limerick game next month.
The Shannonsiders continued preparations for the league last weekend with a big win over Laois in UL.
This weekend, Limerick will play Waterford in the latest of a series of challenge games after their elimination from the Waterford Crystal Cup at the hands of Clare.
Meanwhile, Na Piarsaigh are to plan without corner forward Adrian Breen for their All-Ireland semi-final.
The attacker is out with a broken collar bone.
But Sean Stack’s Munster champions will be able to call upon teenage star Ronan Lynch.
Lynch, who is eligible for the minor grade in 2014, only joined the squad since their Munster final before Christmas.
However, he will first attempt to guide Ardscoil Ris into a Harty Cup final.
This Saturday they play Hamilton High School of Bandon in the semi-final in Mallow at 3.00.