Club by club guide to the Limerick SFC

Jerome O’Connell

Reporter:

Jerome O’Connell

Pictured at the launch of the Irish Wire Products sponsored Limerick SFC
FACT files on all 12 clubs competing in the Limerick SFC which gets underway this week.

FACT files on all 12 clubs competing in the Limerick SFC which gets underway this week.

ADARE

Last Season: Came with a large number of youngsters and did well in most games.

They lost four games in a row and found themselves in a winner-take-all contest with fellow relegation candidates Galbally.

Crucially Adare found goals to win 4-7 to 1-12.

But there were positives in their defeats to St Kierans, Fr Caseys and Newcastle West.

In particular they will recall that they could have beaten Newcastle West.

Key Man: Mikey Lyons earned a well deserved call-up to the Limerick senior panel at the outset of this season and will be the leading light for Adare.

A forward of his calibre means they will always carry an inside threat.

One to Watch: Mark Connolly has sparkled at full forward for the Limerick minor footballers and at underage level with Adare in recent seasons.

If introduced at senior level he is sure to cause trouble for defences.

One to follow on Twitter: Michael Mulvihill - @mulvhi

The forward will entertain on twitter will all sports covered, albeit horse racing a speciality.

Fixtures: Round 1 - St Kierans, Round 2 - Fr Caseys, Round 3 - Ballysteen, Round 4 - Newcastle West, Round 5 - Na Piarsaigh.

Prospects: With a very young squad, Adare will want to pick up a victory as soon as possible. At minor and U-21 level their young breed of footballer is used to success but any real senior challenge hasn’t materialised in recent years.

BALLYLANDERS

Last Season: What a year for Ballylanders with Jimmy Barry Murphy captaining them to a fourth Limerick SFC title and a first since 2007.

Their title run started with four successive wins - Monaleen, Sean Finns, Drom-Broadford and Pallasgreen.

But then they lost to St Patrick in the final round which forced them into a quarter final. They beat Newcastle West and then Drom-Broadford in the semi final before St Patricks in the final.

Key Man: Jimmy Barry Murphy was instrumental last season for the men from south Limerick.

He set the tone for his team-mates from a play-maker role at centre forward. He caused all sorts of trouble for defences as he roamed all over the field.

One to Watch: Brian O’Connell showed himself to a welcome addition to Ballylanders last season and his progress was rewarded with a spot on the county U-21 football panel.

Bally worked with a tight panel last season and may have to dip into their junior side to bolster reserves with some emerging from the minor ranks.

One to follow on Twitter: Stephen Fox - @stevefox1985

Played a key tactical role for Ballylanders and still finds time to comment on his Twitter account.

Fixtures: Round 1 - Pallasgreen, Round 2 - Monaleen, Round 3 - St Patricks, Round 4 - Rathkeale, Round 5 - Drom-Broadford.

Prospects: The bookies only place the champions in third spot - behind Drom-Broadford and Fr Casesy - to retain their county title.

The fixture work reasonably well for Ballylanders with the perceived easiest team first and the perceived most difficult team in the final round. More than anyone Bally will testify to the benefit of momentum and therefore want early wins.

BALLYSTEEN

Last Season: The year ended at the group stages with two wins, two defeats and a draw.

They started with success over Galbally but then lost a key tie to St Kieran’s.

Defeat to Fr Casey’s followed before they were winners over Adare.

The campaign finished with a draw against Newcastle West.

Key Man: After a prolonged Winter break Pa Ranahan has returned to the Limerick colours and his form suggests he will again be vital to the Ballysteen charge.

Can fill a variety of roles around the middle third and the more he is on the ball the better.

One to Watch: Jack Neville is one of the young guns that could be afforded a starting role.

Ballysteen’s line-up appears to be along familiar lines but the addition of a new spark is always welcome.

One to follow on Twitter: Danny Neville - @Snoodified

The inter-county man offers his throughts on matters Limerick footballers and closer to home.

Fixtures: Round 1 - Na Piarsaigh, Round 2 - St Kierans, Round 3 - Adare, Round 4 - Fr Caseys, Round 5 - Newcastle West.

Prospects: The bookies offer Ballysteen at 9/1. This is just shorter than St Kierans and the round two tie between the sides could again be a key indicator as to the battle for knockout spots.

Play intermediate champions Na Piarsaigh in round one and will be aware that one win from the opening two games is the very minimum that is required.

DROMCOLLOGHER-BROADFORD

Last Season: They were beaten by champions Ballylanders in the semi final, 2-10 to 0-12.

But it wasn’t a smooth campaign. They opened with victory over city sides St Patricks and Monaleen.

Then they lost to eventual winners Ballylanders before ensuring a semi final spot with wins over Sean Finns and Pallasgreen.

Key Main: There are still leaders aplenty in this Drom-Broadford panel but Limerick captain Seanie Buckley is their go to man at present.

Buckley commands much of the middle third of the field and his ability to kick scores from distance has often inspired towards around him to greater heights.

One to Watch: With Tom McLoughlin retiring Cillian Fahy can become a key force in the Drom-Broadford defence.

Like John Galvin before him, he carries a basketball pedigree onto the GAA field and will have benefited greatly from training and playing on the inter-county scene.

One to follow on Twitter: Seanie Buckley - @seaniebuckley

The Limerick captain offers regular options on Limerick football and sport in general.

Fixtures: Round 1 - Monaleen, Round 2 - St Patricks, Round 3 - Rathkeale, Round 4 - Pallasgreen, Round 5 - Ballylanders.

Prospects: The former champions are listed as favourites to regain their Limerick SFC title with odds of 3/1.

They bring a wealth of experience into the championship but its a new-look management - Micheal Reidy acting as a player/mentor.

If all players remain fit they will surely be involved in the knockout stages and history has shown that they like to return with a aplomb after suffering disappointment the previous year.

FR CASEYS

Last Season: The Abbeyfeale men set the early pace with a series of group wins.

Then managed by Liam Kearns, they beat Newcastle West, Adare, Ballsyteen and Galbally.

In the final group game they drew with St Kierans, but still advanced to the semi final.

But defeat was to be the lot for both table toppers in the semi final, with Fr Casey’s losing 1-9 to 0-9 to St Patrick’s.

Key Man: The loss of Paudie Browne and Michael Galvin has robbed Fr Caseys of the physical presence of two key men in the middle third.

John Riordan can be the one to fill the void. Needs to get ball in hand to set Fr Casey’s on the forward foot.

Others like Mike Sheehan and David Ward can also help alleviate the loss of Paudie Browne.

One to Watch: Daniel Daly has already played Sigerson Cup football and Munster U-21 football championship this year.

Now injury free, he will want to cement a spot on his club side to bolster his future prospects with the county side

One to follow on Twitter: Mike Sheehan - @MikeSheehan_

The Abbeyfeale defender is a regular online with sporting opinions across a variety of codes.

Fixtures: Round 1 - Newcastle West, Round 2 - Adare, Round 3 - Na Piarsaigh, Round 4 - Ballysteen, Round 5 - St Kierans.

Prospects: The bookies have put up Fr Casey’s as second favourites at 10/3.

But the Fealesiders have lost some key men in Paudie Browne, Michael Galvin and McEnery brothers Padraig and Eoin.

They have underage talent aplenty and John Colbert will look to introduce more from their successful conveyor belt of minor teams.

MONALEEN

Last Season: Monaleen failed to make the knockout stages.

Lost the opening two games to Ballylands and Drom-Broadford. Beat Pallasgreen but progress was halted by St Patrick’s.

In the final round they beat Sean Finns in a game that mattered little to either.

Key Man: Ger Collins offers what not every club have - an out and out scorer.

From frees and from play, Collins is a constant source of scores if kept close to goal and offered a supply of possession.

Collins found himself utilised as a play-maker at times from centre forward but if Monaleen can win ball in the middle third he carries most threat in the full forward line. Not part of the Limerick est-up this season Collins is fully focused on club hurling and football.

One to Watch: Evan Quinlan has played U-21 football with Limerick for the past two seasons.

From wing forward he was one of those to impress when Limerick went close to shocking Cork in this Spring’s Munster championship.

In a team seeking freshness, Quinlan is exactly what Muiris Gavin’s team need.

One to follow on Twitter: Paul Kinnerk - @kinnerker

The former Limerick footballer and Clare All Ireland winning hurling coach has a growing online presence on matters concerning all sports.

Fixtures: Round 1 - Drom-Broadford, Round 2 - Ballylanders, Round 3 - Pallasgreen, Round 4 - St Patricks, Round 5 - Rathkeale.

Prospects: The bookies list Monaleen at 8/1 to win a sixth title and a first since 2011.

But management will know that there is a stiff task ahead as they bid to reach the knockout stages while trying to filter through a number of new faces.

A victory from the opening two rounds would be a massive starting point.

NA PIARSAIGH

Last Season: Surprised many with their march to the county intermediate football final, albeit they were involved in the knockout stages in previouse years.

Underdogs against an experienced St Senans in the Limerick IFC, the Caherdavin men turned in a fine display to become a dual senior club.

They were unbeaten in the group stages - drawing with Oola and Cappamore.

Castlemahon and Cappamore fell in the knockout stages before the 3-11 to 1-15 final victory.

Key Man: The experience of Eoin Hogan will be essential to guide the newcomers through some games at the top level.

Hogan has key inter-county experience but what is noteworthy is that throughout the Na Piarsaigh line-up are players that are used to winning at the highest level. Hogan can get his hands on possession in the half forward line and also get among the scores.

One to Watch: Just six days before their senior debut William O’Donoghue captained Na Piarsaigh to U-21 hurling honours.

He will play a key midfield role for their senior aspirations. One of those to embellish his reputation in the Munster U-21 football loss to Cork.

One to follow on Twitter: David Dempsey - @D_Dempsey_95

The LIT student is a senior hurler and footballer but still finds time for some online words of wisdom.

Fixtures: Round 1 - Ballysteen, Round 2 - Newcastle West, Round 3 - Fr Caseys, Round 4 - St Kierans, Round 5 - Adare

Prospects: Na Piarsaigh contested a Limerick SFC final in 1982 but such lofty thoughts could be jumping the gun for the Caherdavin men.

Consolidating their status will be the first target for a side that has made a winning start in the All County League.

NEWCASTLE WEST

Last Season: Newcastle West were knocked out of the championship at the quarter final stage by eventual championship Ballylanders.

That was after a group stage of mixed results with a round one loss to Fr Caseys and a final round draw with Ballysteen.

In between was a run of wins over Galbally, Adare and St Kierans.

Key Man: The magpies have a host of attacking talent at their disposal and finding the right combination and style of football to get the best return is vital.

But also vital is a constant supply of possession and here Iain Corbett is key.

He showed signs last season that he was maturing into a leader of this team. On top of winning possession he works to link defence and attack.

One to Watch: It’s a big championship for Cian Sheehan.

The attacker made his Munster SFC debut last season and continued his inter-county progress during the league.

Brings a strong physical, ball carrying edge to their attack and needs to be on the scoresheet too if ultimate success is to be acheived.

Who to follow on Twitter: Stephen Kelly - @Kelly82Stephen

The experienced forward often takes to social media to share his thoughts on matters football or beyond

Fixtures: Round 1 - Newcastle West; Round 2 - Na Piarsaigh; Round 3- St Kieran’s; Round 4 - Adare; Round 5 - Ballysteen

Prospects: They are listed as fourth favourites at 6/1 to add to their 1987 and 1992 titles.

With U-21 titles in 2012 and 2014 the time is now right for another serious challenge to win the Fr Casey Cup.

They should be strong enough to reach the knockout stages and are also experienced enough to know that August/September is the time to peak.

PALLASGREEN

Last Season: Lost all five group games and didn’t really get close to any opponents as they failed to kick more than nine scores in any game.

But the 2012 intermediate champions came strong in the relegation final to beat Galbally 1-13 to 0-9.

Key Man: Pallasgreen are one of just three senior clubs without a player on the county senior football panel at present.

Be it full back or centre back Lorcan O’Dwyer is a vital defensive cog for a side that are on the backfoot more than they would like.

Fellow experienced campaigner Jonathan Deere also remains key because he can win clean primary possession.

One to Watch: Brian Fanning played last season but should be ready to sparkle throughout this championship.

Just last week he lined out in Croke Park with Abbey CBS in the All Ireland SBFC final.

Fanning brings pace to the Pallasgreen attack and will look to add scores to his ability to put defences on the back foot with his direct running.

Who to follow on Twitter: Colin Ryan - @MalachyColin

The 2013 Munster minor hurling winning goalkeeper is never too far away from social media. A student in Doon’s Scoil na Trionoide Naofa, Ryan can play defence or attack for the Pallas footballers.

Fixtures: Round 1 - Ballylanders, Round 2 - Rathkeale, Round 3 - Monaleen, Round 4 - Drom-Broadford, Round 5 - St Patricks.

Prospects: It’s fair to assume that Pallasgreen simply don’t have the quality just now to lift county honours.

But they can certainly get closer to a lot of their group opponents than last season and indeed shock one or two.

The bookies have them favourites to be relegated.

RATHKEALE

Last Season: In their first season up in the senior ranks, St Marys Sean Finns were greatly hindered by injuries.

After a winning run through the junior and intermediate ranks they were forced to taste defeat more often than not - conceding 10 goals along the way.

Crucially they got an opening round win over Pallasgreen, which meant no relegation play-off for the Rathkeale side.

Key Man: Darren Jones was a popular choice as team captain for 2015 with Gary Enright as vice captain.

Anywhere across the half back line Jones is a key figure for Rathkeale. As well as defensive duties he powers forward with purpose and can take scores.

One to watch: Mikey Morrissey is captain of the Limerick minor team in his second season at that level.

Can add to the Rathkeale attack from the start or the bench. Has shown himself capable of scoring as well as direct running.

One to follow on Twitter: Darren Jones - @darren19941

The team captain isn’t a daily contributor by any means but does dip in and out of the social media world.

Fixtures: Round 1 - St Patricks, Round 2 - Pallasgreen, Round 3 - Drom-Broadford, Round 4 - Ballylanders, Round 5 - Monaleen.

Prospects: After last year’s run of defeats they must target a win during the month of May to gain confidence ahead of a Summer of training under their new manger.

ST KIERANS

Last Season: A barrage of five goals from St Patricks knocked out St Kierans at the quarter final stage.

They opened the season with three successive wins - Adare, Ballysteen and Galbally.

They lost out to Newcastle West but finished with a draw against high-flying Fr Caseys. Their quarter final defeat was on a 5-7 to 1-13 scoreline.

Key Man: Regardless of where they play him Johnny McCarthy is the heartbeat of the team.

Pretty much has filled roles in all lines of the field, except the full forward line and always sparkles.

Along with brothers Paudie and Brendan, the McCarthy provide an integral backbone to the side.

Elsewhere they will benefit from a fully fit Darragh Treacy and hope that their forward unit can click.

One to Watch: Sean McSweeney embellished his growing reputation last year as key forward for his club side.

Will again need to be sharp if St Kierans are to get a positive return from their attack.

One to follow on Twitter:

Jack Harnett - @jackharnett1

Doesn’t appear to be a constant Twitter presence throughout the St Kierans panel but Harnett does dip in and out of his account.

Fixtures: Round 1 - Adare, Round 2 - Ballysteen, Round 3 - Newcastle West, Round 4 - Na Piarsaigh, Round 5 - Fr Caseys.

Prospects: The bookies list St Kierans at 10/1 to end a 25 year wait for a Limerick SFC title.

Those odds put them eighth in line to replace Ballylanders as champions. They can rightly look back on last season and wonder ‘what if’ after conceding a number of goals in their quarter final defeat.

Like like season will want to get early points on the board to mount down charge towards the knockout stages.

ST PATRICKS

Last Season: Beaten by four points in the county final by Ballylanders.

That came after they lost to Drom-Broadford in the first round but regrouped to win four successive games - Pallasgreen, Sean Finns, Monaleen and Ballylanders.

Then the city side beat St Kierans in the quarter final and Fr Caseys in the semi final.

They will look back on the final and know it was a game where they weren’t out-played.

Key Man: Game by game Gearoid Hegarty is maturing into a top class inter-county midfielder and yet he is still U-21.

At club level he can win a constant supply of possession and on the forward foot is very hard to stop.

With a number of free-scoring forwards, stopping Hegarty will be vital to all opponents.

One to Watch: Keelan Stephenson caught the eye last year with some sparkling displays from wing back. Surged forward with intent and popped up with some key scores. Was part of the county U-21 panel, while his young brother Cameron is part of the county minor panel.

One to follow on Twitter:

Gearoid Hegarty: @GearoidHegarty

The UL student shares observations on a variety of sports as well as his own tribulations.

Fixtures: Round 1 - Rathkeale, Round 2 - Drom-Broadford, Round 3 - Ballylanders, Round 4 - Monaleen, Round 5 - Pallasgreen.

Prospects: The bookies price St Patricks at 7/1.

All connected with the Rhebogue club will know that there is little room for error in a some competitive group. Getting a win in the opening two rounds is key to build momentum but Rathkeale and Drom-Broadford won’t be easy.