LIMERICK football manager John Brudair knows the value of a Munster championship victory to his new-look panel.
With more than half of his match day panel of 26 new to the inter-county senior scene over the last two years they are yet to taste success in the Munster SFC.
“In terms of how the league finished it was great to get two wins (Clare and Louth) going into the championship and they were important wins to keep us up. It makes the planning for the championship better knowing we maintained Division Three status. They sang all the way from Dublin to Limerick (after the Louth win) - it was a great trip home and they deserved that because it was two great performances in a row and sometimes you need that to give yourself the belief that what you are doing in training is worthwhile,” outlined the Limerick manager.
He added: “All we were missing in the earlier rounds was a proven-scorer or a safe pair of hands up front - a lot of things up to that point were quite good against Armagh and Tipperary. We weren’t doing a lot wrong - we just weren’t finishing”.
Then came the return of Pa Ranahan and Ian Ryan to bolster options, but since has come the emigration of Paudie Browne.
“There will be a lot of young lads but that is the way it has panned out for us this year. It’s not even about age, Robert Browne has taken his chance at 28 and been very good for us - it’s all down to ability and whoever is playing well and performing best. A lot of them were playing Sigerson Cup during the Winter and that gives them a good footing of what is expected at inter-county level because they are mixing with lads who are a year or two ahead of them in terms of development and they see their physique and their level of commitment,” outlined Brudair.
Like his players, Brudair is seeking a first Munster SFC win as manager.
“You have to expect that Clare will be well up for it and that they will be expecting to win on Saturday but at the same token we will go down there expecting to win. There is not a whole pile between the teams to be honest, its about whoever performs on the day. A few decisions here or there from individuals or the referee could swing it,” he said.