THE first of the Limerick GAA adult championships gets underway this weekend with the opening round of action in the LIT sponsored Limerick Premier IHC.
Eight hurling clubs take part in the championship, which consists of one group with seven games guaranteed to all in the second tier of Limerick club hurling.
Just like last year’s extremely exciting inaugural competition, the top four will qualify for the semi-finals with two finalists promoted to the senior ranks.
The bottom two clubs at the conclusion of the round robin series will be relegated to the Limerick IHC.
This Tuesday afternoon, LIT were unveiled as the new championship sponsors.
Dr Maria Hinfelaar, Limerick Institute of Technology President, said that the college were proud to continue their links with local sport.
“We are still very much enjoying retrospectively hosting the Fitzgibbon Cup competition and we now decided to sponsor one of the key competitions for up and coming talent in Limerick GAA,” she said.
Bruree, Blackrock, Dromin-Athlacca and Garryspillane face into their second season in the championship, while Knockainey and Granagh-Ballinagarry were relegated down from senior and Pallasgreen and Monaleen were promoted up from the Limerick IHC.
Management: Manager Stephen McDonogh, Trainer Liam Reale (Hospital-Herbertstown), Selectors James Charles O’Brien and Christopher Sexton.
Captain: Michael Lane.
Last year: Just narrowly avoided relegation in the final round of action.
Club view: “At the start of the year Stephen came in and put it out there that we have let ourselves down for the last couple of years and that we had to put in a big effort this year to get a bit of pride back in the jersey. Everyone respects that man and we put the head down and will now just hopefully perform against Monaleen in the first round” - Kieran O’Rourke, player.
Management: Manager Pat Heffernan, Selectors Peter O’Sullivan, Aidan Fitzgerald, Fintan Leahy.
Captain: Declan Danaher.
Last year: Lost after extra time and a replay to Croom at the semi final stage.
Management: Manager Mark Moynihan, trainer Shane Nolan (Loughmore-Castleiney, Tipperary), Selectors Liam Barron and Donal Walsh.
Captain: Brian Kelleher
Last year: Were the 2013 Limerick IHC champions before the restructure. Finished mid-table in the new competition last year - failing to reach the knockout stages but avoiding relegation.
Management: Manager Sean Doyle (Bodkye, Co Clare), Selectors John Joe O’Reilly and Darren Hayes.
Captain: Micheal O’Donnell
Last year: Lost at the semi final stage to eventual winners, Bruff.
Club view: “We saw last year how good a championship it is but you need to be winning games to get momentum going. Last year Knockaderry nearly won every game but lost by a few points and were relegated. We got to the semi final last year and would be hoping to do something similar if not better” - Micheal O’Donnell, player.
Management: Manager Seamus Stapleton, Coach John Tuohy (Patrickswell), Selectors Paddy Hennessy, Willie Power, Darragh O’Grady.
Captain: Denis O’Connor
Last year: Relegated from senior ranks after a stay of nine years in the top flight.
Management: Manager Natal O’Grady (Patrickswell), Selectors Michael Walsh and Donncha O’Brien.
Captain: Dermot Walsh
Last year: Relegated down from the senior ranks after a 12 year stay in the top flight.
Club view: “We feel it might be the best thing that happened to us dropping down. We need to get competitive games and bring young fellas through. This year we can fancy our chances against all opposition. If you win your first few games I don’t think you can go too far wrong” - Kieran Cleary, player.
Management: Manager Jimmy Browne (Clonlara, Co Clare), Selectors Jed O’Dwyer, Eamon Doyle, Tosh O’Connor.
Captain: Ger Collins
Last year: Won promotion from Limerick IHC, although lost final to Pallasgreen.
Club view: “We said at the start of the year that retaining our status would be massive for next year and to build hurling in the club. Anything after that would be a massive bonus. We will take it one game at a time. There are a lot of young lads coming good and the likes of Brian Geary and Damien Cosgrave with massive experience” - Ger Collins, player.
Management: Selectors Mick Lawton, Denis Ryan, Pat O’Dwyer, Denis Fraher, John Linnane & Jimmy Fanning.
Captain: Lorcan O’Dwyer
Last year: Promoted as champions from the Limerick IHC with a final win over Monaleen.
Club view: “We are only a small club ourt in east Limerick but Pallas are known for working hard and that’s what we aim to do. Its a step up for all our young fellas. Some have played with Limerick and others at premier minor level and they are driving things forward now and the aim to get senior eventually so this can be a stepping stone towards that” - Pa Roche, player.
Bruree v Monaleen in Clarina at 6.30pm
Blackrock v Dromin-Athlacca in Kilmallock at 2pm
Pallasgreen v Garryspillane in Bruff at 6pm
Knockainey v Granagh-Ballingarry in Kilmallock at 6pm