A welcome selection headache for Limerick hurlers

Jerome O’Connell

Reporter:

Jerome O’Connell

Much interest in the Limerick hurling team to play Dublin in the league quarter final
FOR the first time this season Limerick will be pretty close to full strength in Croke Park on Saturday evening.

FOR the first time this season Limerick will be pretty close to full strength in Croke Park on Saturday evening.

To date 27 different players have started in the five league games played.

With the Kilmallock contingent to return for the league quarter final clash with Dublin, it appears that about six of the current inter-county panel of 30 will be genuinely disappointed at places among the substitutes if Limerick select their strongest unit.

Limerick have confirmed that 29 players will be available with the injured Kevin Downes the only absentee.

TJ Ryan and selectors Paul Beary, Mark Lyons and Davy Clarke have a number of areas to debate during announcing their team after training on Thursday evening.

GOALKEEPER

League selection would suggest that Nickie Quaid very much remains Limerick’s first choice goalkeeper.

Aaron Murphy has shown himself an able under study, while it must also be remembered that Kilmallock’s Barry Hennessy is also in the panel.

FULL BACK LINE

Richie McCarthy and Stephen Walsh are the only two players who played every minute of the five league games so far and therefore will surely be in the team.

Therefore the decision rests between Seamus Hickey and Tom Condon, who both suffered injuries in recent weeks. However, Condon has been used at wing back in game this season.

HALF BACK LINE

There are many options across the half back line for management to debate. Firstly is the No6 jersey.

Adare duo Wayne McNamara and Declan Hannon have filled this role.

Both can also be accomodated elsewhere with McNamara a potential wing back and Hannon a contender across the half forward line.

Then there are the wing back slots.

Condon, Dan Morrissey and Conor Allis have filled the roles to date.

Then there is the returning Kilmallock duo Paudie O’Brien and Gavin O’Mahony. O’Mahony played in the league opener against Waterford but was centre forward.

Likewise, O’Brien could play in midfield or even in the half forward line. That’s seven players for three positions.

MIDFIELD

Paul Browne and James Ryan appear to continue into the championship as the preferred midfield partnership.

Indeed it’s the one area where no automatic back up now appears evident.

HALF FORWARD LINE

Like the half-back line a number of players battle for the three jerseys.

Indeed two of the players are also involved in the half-back line equation - Gavin O’Mahony and Declan Hannon.

Captain Donal O’Grady has started all league games, albeit he was wing back in round one.

Daivd Breen, Cian Lynch and David Reidy are also in the mix across a line which has caused much trouble for Limerick in recent championships.

FULL FORWARD LINE

All Star Shane Dowling appears the preferred choice for full forward.

A number of players have filled the corner forward positions with Seanie Tobin sparkling since his return from a hip operation. He revelled in the free taking role in the absence of Dowling.

Regular corner forward Graeme Mulcahy returns for Saturday.

Also options in this line of the field are Adrian Breen and Tom Morrissey, who are among the five newcomers to the 2015 panel.