Limerick hurlers set to return to club action

Na Piarsaigh and Limerick hurler David Breen
THE Limerick senior and minor hurlers will have to put county ambitions aside this weekend - as a full schedule of club games is set to go ahead.

THE Limerick senior and minor hurlers will have to put county ambitions aside this weekend - as a full schedule of club games is set to go ahead.

All members of John Allen’s senior panel and many of Brian Ryan’s minor panel will be on club duty as the final round of the group games takes place in the Limerick SHC and IHC.

For a brief couple of days all hurling focus will switch from Croke Park to the make-or-break round of club hurling games.

Both inter-county managements will be monitoring the fixtures for the fitness of key players.

It is hoped that Paudie O’Brien (Kilmallock) and Shane Dowling (Na Piarsaigh) will line out for their respective clubs and prove their fitness ahead of the August 18 All-Ireland SHC semi-final against Clare.

However, Kevin Downes (Na Piarsaigh) and Sean Tobin (Murroe-Boher) could miss out this weekend for their clubs and therefore face an anxious wait ahead of next month’s trip to Croke Park.

Downes is suffering with a broken toe, while Tobin is currently wearing a protective shoe to help aid the recovering of a foot injury.

Management will be hoping that no fresh injuries are sustained but such is the magnitude of the club games that there won’t be any room for ‘holding back’.

Ahead of the eight SHC games, just Ahane and Doon are 100% confirmed for the quarter-finals.

With a restructure of the Limerick SHC in 2014, all those not reaching this season’s quarter-finals will be involved in a battle to avoid the drop - four will be relegated.

There are three winner-takes-all contests.

On Saturday evening in the Gaelic Grounds Na Piarsaigh or Patrickswell will exit the championship. While the winner will progress to play Ahane in the last eight, the losing side will battle for senior survival against Croom.

Elsewhere champions Kilmallock must beat south Limerick neighbours Effin on Thursday to continue on the defence of their title.

Club captain Paudie O’Brien trained over the weekend but remains a doubt for Tony Considine’s side.

On Friday, South Liberties will look to reach the quarter-finals when they play Garryspillane in Bruff. The winner will play Doon in the last eight.

Also primed for quarter-finals places are Adare, Ballybrown and Murroe-Boher.