Limerick hurlers face attacking dilemma

Jerome O’Connell


Jerome O’Connell

Limerick's Graeme Mulcahy is likely to miss the Antrim game due to suspension
THE Limerick hurlers are facing a selection crisis in attack.

THE Limerick hurlers are facing a selection crisis in attack.

Ahead of this Sunday’s round two Allianz National Hurling League game against Antrim Limerick will have just two regulars available to play in the forward unit.

Limerick used nine attackers enroute to Croke Park last Summer but just James Ryan and Seanie Tobin will be available for this Sunday’s game in the Gaelic Grounds.

Graeme Mulcahy is ruled out through suspension after his red card against Cork.

Limerick have a number of days to decide if they are to appeal the sending-off in the 26th minute of the first half in Pairc Ui Rinn.

While Limerick await the referee’s report, if Mulcahy was sent off for a category 2 offence the suspenion would be just one match.

Sidelined by injury are Declan Hannon and Seamus Hickey, while Niall Moran has retired from inter-county hurling.

The Na Piarsaigh trio of David Breen, Shane Dowling and Kevin Downes are all to be rested for the next couple of weeks following their extended season on the club scene.

It was thought that they would miss the Cork game but management performed a late u-turn to include the men from the Caherdavin club in their match day plans.

But they are now set to be rested for the forthcoming Antrim and Wexford games.

All that means that joint-manager TJ Ryan and Donal O’Grady will have to experiment with the attack for the visit of the Saffrons.

Conor Allis should start alongside James Ryan in the half forward line. He scored a point in the draw with Cork.

Thomas Ryan also played against Cork and while he was withdrawn early in the second half but could be set for another start.

In the full forward line, Seanie Tobin will have new colleagues with Tommy Quaid, Thomas O’Brien, William Hickey, David Reidy, John Fitzgibbon and Micheal Ryan all in line to get starting roles.

The lack of attacking options comes at a bad time, given the result in Cork on Saturday.

The draw between Limerick and Cork means that promotion could be decided on scoring difference.

While both sides have four games to play, they will be favoured to win all and were this to happen the side with the best scoring difference would take their place in the top tier next season.

Limerick joint-manager TJ Ryan is well aware of the importance of scores in the remaining games.

“Scoring difference will decide the top team, so every game is important now,” he said after the Cork game.

“The next day is important to us, we’re at home to Antrim. The division is competitive, which might seem like a cliche, but it’s true.”