AS Bruff prepare to venture into the provincial championship, the battle on the sideline pits Gary Kirby against fellow Limerick legends Ciaran Carey and Mark Foley when Bruff play Lixnaw in Tralee this Sunday in the Munster club IHC semi-final.
However, this is not an issue that Bruff manager Gary Kirby is keen to dwell on.
“At the end of the day, it’s down to the lads on the field,” he said. “He (Carey) has his own style, I have mine but we can’t affect what the players do.”
Kirby is also happy with the form his players showed as the won the inaugural Premier IHC championship beating Croom by four points in the final.
If you look at the Garryspillane game (county semi-final) and the Croom game, we showed we are well able to compete,” he added, ahead of Sunday Munster IHC semi-final with Lixnaw.
The Patrickswell man also said that his troops are ready for the beginning of what is a new campaign in Munster.
“Preparation is good, we are all settled again,” he revealed. “All the lads came through (without injury) and we put down a good week of training this week.”
The three time All-Star added that victory for Bruff would be a “massive boost for Limerick hurling”.
“We’re going down knowing we have a team capable of winning,” he said, but added that they are only too well aware of the threat posed by the Kerry champions.
Despite the managers gaining a lot of headlines, it is battle on the field which will intrigue those who make the journey to Austin Stack Park, Tralee for this Munster IHC semi-final.
Bruff come into this game as the bookmaker’s favourites, but they will know the challenge that the Kerry SHC champions bring to the table.
Corner forward James Flaharty scored 2-2 against Cork champions Ballyhea in an impressive victory for Lixnaw, who travelled to Cork and toppled the Rebel’s Premier IHC champions.
Also crucial for the Kerrymen is Mike Conway, who played on the edge of the square in Mallow. He helped himself to 0-7, including four frees.
Bruff will have to keep their discipline if they are to keep Conway out of the game.
They will, however, feel they have the advantage in the free-taking stakes with Shane Bulfin who has scored 19 frees in his last two games without missing one.
Apart from Bulfin, Bruff have other strong forwards and have a good balance between youthful players like county minor Sean Finn, and the experience of John Cooke and Paddy O’Leary.
However, if Bruff are to progress to a Munster final, they will have to keep it tight at the back and stop the Kerry champions dangerous forward line. If they can do this, they have a great chance.