WITH Na Piarsaigh crowned Limerick senior hurling champions, Jerome O’Connell picks his Limerick SHC team of the season and outlines the reasons for his selections.
County champions Na Piarsaigh lead the team with six of the players, while a total of six different clubs are represented. Just four members of John Allen’s 2013 Limerick senior hurling panel are named in the team.
1. Padraig Kennedy (Na Piarsaigh)
The Na Piarsaigh goalie continues to be a safe pair of hands for Sean Stack’s side. Now in his fifth year between the posts, Kennedy is assured in both his primary duties and also very impressive when in possession of the sliothar. Adare’s Shane O’Donoghue and Doon’s Darragh Stapleton get honourable mentions.
2. Niall Buckley (Na Piarsiagh)
Solid throughout the year for the Caherdavin men. Very strong in possession and drives out through challenges. Held off opposition from Liam Hurley of Kilmallock and Eoin Fitzgibbon of Doon.
3. Kieran Breen (Na Piarsaigh)
Mr consistency for Na Piarsaigh at the edge of the square. Goes about his business quietly but most effectively. Picked up Declan Hannon for a lot of the county final and did an admiral job. Kilmallock’s Mark O’Loughlin and Knockainey’s Patrick McNamara were others to impress for their clubs in the No3 shirt.
4. Mikey Kiely (Ballybrown)
Converted from an attacker to defender this season and did most impressively. Two outstanding outings against Graeme Mulcahy and Willie Griffin. Selected ahead of Na Piarsaigh’s Michael Casey and Adare’s Stephen Lavin.
5. James O’Brien (Na Piarsaigh)
The championship winning captain was top notch from start to finish this season. Started out at centre back but ended at wing back and did some great sweeping across the half back line. Notable performers were Dinny Moloney of Doon and Diarmuid Byrnes of Murroe-Boher.
6. Cathal McNamara (Doon)
The centre back was the foundation of much that was good about Doon this season. Their half back line was most impressive and McNamara held the centre well. Also contributed long range frees. Held off strong competition from David Breen of Na Piarsaigh, Gavin O’Mahony of Kilmallock and Nigel Finch of Knockainey.
7. Wayne McNamara (Adare)
Played centre back for the county finalists but had to make this team. Drove Adare on at all times and the club captain is clearly an inspiration to colleagues. Honourable mentions to Doon’s Richie English and Tom Ryan of South Liberties.
8. John Fitzgibbon (Adare)
The U-21 player was outstanding this season. Brings huge energy to midfield and chipped in with some impressive scores from play. Knockainey’s Patrick Kirby and Kilmallock’s Paudie O’Brien were other considerations.
9. Alan Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh)
Solved a problem area for the champions when he switched from wing back. Brought a renewed energy to the area and also found a scoring touch. Held off claims from Doon’s Niall Maher and Donal O’Grady of Granagh-Ballingarry.
10. Seanie O’Brien (Patrickswell)
Started the year in a blaze of glory and while wasn’t as prominent as the year ended, he certainly showed glimpses of his great potential. Doon’s Pat Ryan, Barry Nash of South Liberties and Kilmallock’s Kevin O’Donnell also enjoyed fine seasons.
11. Declan Hannon (Adare)
Not the best season from Hannon but regardless he finished as top scorer in the championship and accounted for the majority of the scores from an Adare side that reached the county final. Notable centre forward performances from Seanie Tobin of Murroe-Boher, Shane Dowling of Na Piarsaigh and Niall Kennedy of Granagh-Ballingarry.
12. Alan O’Connor (Ballybrown)
The Ballybrown man showed his value to his side in each game. In their first season back in the top flight, O’Connor’s scores from frees and from play was a solid base and a great confidence boost for his side. Adare’s Diarmuid Sexton and Patrickswell pair Kevin O’Brien and Jack Kelleher also caught the eye.
13. Eoin Ryan (Kilmallock)
Must have been one of the championship’s top scorers from play. Played in a variety of roles for Tony Considine’s men and always camp up trumps with vital scores. Doon’s Micheal Ryan and Ahane’s Tom Morrissey were others to prove a constant threat for their clubs.
14. Kevin Downes (Na Piarsaigh)
The inter-county man stood up when needed by his clubs. Outstanding in the county final and also hit vital scores enroute to the decider. Adare’s Paul Keane, Granagh-Ballingarry’s Eoin Chawke and Bruree’s Kieran O’Dea were others that were key to their clubs.
15. Dean Coleman (Doon)
The teenager didn’t start every game for Doon but more often than not provided the spark for some memorable wins. Developed a vital knack of scoring key goals and always had defences on the back foot. Na Piarsaigh’s Adrian Breen and Patrickswell’s Lar Considine did likewise for their clubs.