LIMERICK’S hurling team for Sunday’s Munster SHC derby with Clare includes three championship debuts.
TJ Ryan and his selectors confirmed their team this Thursday evening for the Thurles quarter final, which starts at 4.00 and will be televised live on RTE.
Into the starting team come for the first time in championship hurling come Barry Hennessy (goalkeeper), Cian Lynch (corner forward) and Seanie O’Brien (wing back).
With Nickie Quaid and David Breen out injured, the big casualty is Wayne McNamara.
Goalkeeper Hennessy won the battle to replace the injured Quaid, ahead of Aaron Murphy.
Sunday will be Hennessy’s first ever competitive Limerick senior outing.
He played with the Limerick minors in 1997 and U-21s in 2010, alongside current seniors; Paul Browne, Paudie O’Brien, Graeme Mulcahy, Declan Hannon and Seanie Tobin.
The 26 year old Kilmallock man has been a member of the Limerick senior set-up for the past two years but it was Murphy that was sub-goalkeeper to Quaid throughout the 2014 championship.
Twenty-one years ago, Hennessy’s father Tom was Limerick sub-goalkeeper to Joe Quaid when Limerick lost the 1994 All Ireland final.
Teenager Cian Lynch comes straight into the team on the back of successive Munster minor hurling titles. Last September the Mary Immaculate College student captained the Limerick minor team that lost to Kilkenny in the All Ireland final.
The third newcomer is Seanie O’Brien. The Patrickswell man actually made his championship debut as a sub against Antrim in the Gaelic Grounds in 2012 but has never started on championship day. A member of the Munster U-21 winning side of 2011, The LIT student captained Ardscoil Ris to Harty Cup glory in 2010.
In total the Limerick team has 11 of the side that lined out against Kilkenny in the All Ireland semi final last August.
Absent are Quaid, Breen, McNamara and Kevin Downes, who has battled back to fitness to claim a place among the subs. He did not feature during the league after undergoing a knee operation.
In front of goalkeeper Barry Hennessy will be regular full back line colleagues Richie McCarthy and Seamus Hickey. Back into the fold comes 2013 Munster championship winning corner back Stephen Walsh to partner the duo.
During the league much talk was of a potential switch to attack for Gavin O’Mahony. Instead he moves from wing back to centre back.
The return of Walsh pushes Tom Condon from corner back to wing back, with newcomer O’Brien on the other wing. In turn that moves Paudie O’Brien from wing back to midfield and Paul Browne from midfield to wing forward.
Paudie O’Brien partners James Ryan in midfield.
In the half forward line is captain Donal O’Grady, Declan Hannon and Browne.
The inside line of attack is 2014 All Star Shane Dowling with Graeme Mulcahy and Lynch in the two corners.
LIMERICK: Barry Hennessy; Stephen Walsh, Richie McCarthy, Seamus Hickey; Tom Condon, Gavin O’Mahony, Seanie O’Brien; Paudie O’Brien, James Ryan; Paul Browne, Declan Hannon, Donal O’Grady; Cian Lynch, Shane Dowling, Graeme Mulcahy.