Limerick Soccer - All ready for new Premier Division season

Pike Rovers begin the defence of their title on Tuesday night
Pat Sheehan profiles the 12 Premier Division teams ahead of the new LDMC season.

Pat Sheehan profiles the 12 Premier Division teams ahead of the new LDMC season.

The LDL kicks off tomorrow evening with hopes and dreams of nearly 3000 players still on a high.

With the disagreement with the Referees now mended all is in readiness for what is hopefully an entertaining season.

With the good runs in the National and Provincial competitions last season it is hoped we can go one better this time out.

Premier League Champions Pike Rvs are again the team to beat but the bookies have made Janesboro and Carew Park second favourites followed by Geraldines, Ballynanty and Regional.

However it is on the field the titles will be decided and a lot of hurdles will have to be leaped before the trophy is handed out next May.

Tomorrow evening Janesboro take on Balla in the opening Premier tie with all other sides in action on Thursday evening.

PIKE ROVERS

Management:Trevor Lovelle, Adrian Lipper, Sean Lawlor

Last season:Champions

Key Player: John Tierney

Odds: 8-15

Comings and goings: With a new management team in place Pike will aim to hold onto their title without the industrious John Boyle. To compensate the Hoops made a couple of impressive signings with Wayne Colbert returning to the fold after injury while Limerick Under 19 player Cian O’Donoghue will be another huge asset to the side.

Prospects: As champions, Pike will be the target for everyone. A couple of shrewd signings will help their cause but they still need a recognised replacement for Colm Enright. Will not relinquish their trophy easily.

JANESBORO

Management: Shane O’Hanlon, Daithi O’Donoghue, Derek Braddish

Last season: Runners-Up

Key Player: Shane Clarke

Odds:7-2

Comings and goings; the addition of John Boyle to the Boro squad is a major boost for the side and throw in Steven Bradley from Fairview and Aaron Nunan from Corbally and they will be well pleased with their summer activities.

James Hayes and Declan Nash will be missing from the line up but a strong squad will compensate.

Prospects: Going so close last season will give Boro hope particularly after a miserable start to the campaign. They need to kick off from the word go and hope Shane Clarke’s unique scoring talent continues.

CAREW PARK

Management; Albert Slattery, Cyril Maher

Last season; 3rd

Key Player; Jonathan Grant

Odds; 7-2

Comings and goings; Carew seem to be in a rebuilding phase with Mark Keane, John Corbett, Darren Harrington definitely moved on. Pa Boyle may be leaving the country for a period which would prove a huge loss. On the plus side Carew have added Glin man Tommy Culhane and Mike Leahy of Herbertstown. Prospects; An extended run in the FAI Junior Cup last season gave the Club a lift but they need an improved run in local competition to keep the interest going for the full season. It could prove a challenging season for Carew but they have the players to deal with it.

GERALDINES

Management; Paul O’Donnell, Mike Considine, Derek Hogan

Last season; 4th

Key Player; Bobby Tier

Odds; 8-1

Comings and goings; Geraldines will have to make do without the services of Ian Storan, Derek Daly, Derek Hogan and Shane Byrnes for the coming campaign but Robbie Kelleher and George Daffy have put pen to paper for the Candy Stripes.

Prospects; A superb campaign last season that petered out without silverware but the Dines will have learned much from last year and look to take it a step further this time out.

BALLYNANTY ROVERS

Management; Damian Conway and Garret Ryan

Last season; 5th

Key Player; David Dunphy

Odds; 11-1

Comings and goings; Balla are surely trying to dissuade Frankie Lee and Tony Fahy from hanging up the boots but with a host of talented youngsters progressing through the youth ranks such as Jamie Bromell, Ryan Earls and Andrew Leyden they will have adequate cover.

Prospects; After their wonderful run in the FAI Junior Cup last year, Balla will be hoping to build on their experience. However they must focus on the League from the start as they fell out of contention early on last season.

REGIONAL UTD

Management; Brian O’Callaghan, Mike Aherne

Last season; 6th

Key Player; Kieran O’Connell

Odds; 20-1

Comings and goings; Regional have made a number of shred signings most notably former Limerick and Wexford player Gary Sheehan. Anthony O’Neill from Mervue and Ollie O’Driscoll make up an impressive trio of signatures. Rob Shier will prove a loss while Peter Nash also exits.

Prospects; It’s all change at the helm for Regional this season with two players taking control. Self belief and consistency have dogged United in the last few years. Scoring was also a problem but that seems to have been addressed.

SUMMERVILLE ROVERS

Management; Leonard Earls

Last season; 7th

Key Player; Mark Keane

Odds; 25-1

Comings and goings; A lot of summer activity for Summerville with Mark Keane, Johnny Corbett, Ronan Power, Dean Mitchell, Adrian Mitchell, Mike Phelan, Aaron Dawson and Greg Barrett all jumping aboard. The loss of Robbie Kelleher, Darren O’Sullivan and Mike Costello is on the debit side.

Prospects; Leonard Earls had Carew Park one of the fittest teams in the Leagues last season and if he can prepare Summerville similarly things look up in Portland.

FAIRVIEW RANGERS

Management; Ian Bennis, Jeffery Judge

Last season; Joint 8th

Key Player; Jeffery Judge

Odds; 20-1

Comings and goings; FAI winners Christy Doyle, Darren O’Sullivan and Willie O’Brien return to the fold along with Corbally’s Adrian Duhig while youth is represented by former Croom player Dillon Murphy, Dave Considine and Dean McNamara.

Ian Bennis retires after a glittering career while Steven Bradley and Colm Hyland move on.

Prospects; Fairview have been through a rough time over the last few years but there is renewed hope for the coming year that the ‘View will return to challenging positions.

CORBALLY UTD

Management; Sean Cronin, Dave McPhillips

Last season; Joint 8th

Key Player; Barry Heffernan

Odds; 40-1

Comings and goings; Corbally Utd have decided on sticking with their own promoting Mike White, Jack Fitzgerald, Colm O’Brien, Dermot Hughes and Alan Doherty from B forms to the A team. The loss of Adrian Duhig is a negative.

Prospects; Year after year Corbally promise much but in the end their challenge fades.

With a young squad the enthusiasm will be present now they need a settled XI and to step up.

AISLING ANNACOTTY

Management; Mike McCarthy

Last season; 10th

Key Player; Stephen Goggin

Odds; 45-1

Comings and goings; Darren Harrington and Brian Collopy are two excellent signings for the side who also welcome a couple of fine youth players. Dean McNamara exits.

Prospects; A big improvement is expected from a young Aisling side that will have learned a lot from their experience last season. Last year’s brush with the drop was navigated well and should stand to the side.

MOYROSS UTD

Management; Philip Power, Frank Hogan

Last season; Promoted as Champions in Div 1A

Key Player; Keith Colbert

Odds; 50-1

Comings and goings; Moyross will lean on the same players that saw them win promotion to the top flight with a number of new additions to bolster the squad.

Shane Guerin returns to the top flight after a brief spell with Northside while former Balla keeper Paudie Hickey returns to the LDL where his experience could prove crucial.

Former Moyross schoolboy player James Cleary also returns to the fold to give the Manager plenty to ponder.

Prospects; Their first season in the top flight will add a buzz to the League and their home games will prove daunting for the faint hearted.

Moyross need to guard against the fact that they will not walk away with the League as they have done over the last few seasons. They need patience and to learn from their experience.

KNOCKAINEY

Management; Ger Barron, Malachy Hayes Snr, Mal Hayes Jnr

Last season; Promoted as Runners-up in Div 1A

Key Player; Nick Hayes

Odds; 50-1

Comings and goings; While the focus is mainly on the lads that brought the club so far the return of James Hayes from Janesboro to his local club gives the sides a huge boost and his experience will prove crucial.

Prospects; Not much is expected from the county side in their first foray to the top flight. However Knockainey are not just there to make up the numbers and will surprise a lot of teams.