THE Limerick U-21 hurlers are sweating on the fitness of three key players ahead of their All Ireland semi final against Galway on Saturday August 22.
Patrickswell’s Kevin O’Brien missed the Munster final win over Clare with a hand injury and has now being joined on the sidelines by St Patricks’ Gearoid Hegarty (ankle) and Kilmallock’s Robbie Hanley (shoulder).
All three are in a race against time to be match fit for the John Kiely led management team, that also includes Jimmy Quilty, John Flavin and Ross Corbett.
Management have bolstered their options with the addition of four players.
Minor duo Peter Casey (Na Piarsaigh) and Seamus Flanagan (Feohanagh) have joined the U-21 set-up since Limerick exited the All Ireland MHC.
Also now part of the U-21 extended panel are Barry Nash (South Liberties) and Dean Coleman (Doon).
Ahead of the August 22 semi final between Limerick and Galway, the bookies have priced both up at 9/4 to win the All Ireland honours. Wexford are currently the evens favourites to claim the title.
The Limerick v Galway semi final has a 6.00 start in Thurles on Saturday week, with the Wexford and Antrim semi final as a curtain-raiser at 4.00.
The All Ireland final is set for September 12.
Galway will include three seniors players in their U-21 team - Conor Whelan, Cathal Mannion and Jason Flynn. A host of others were part of the Galway team that beat Cork last Saturday in Limerick’s Gaelic Grounds to win the All Ireland IHC title.