THE Limerick hurlers are to face into their league title run-in without a key trio.
Chasing a return to the top flight of the National Hurling League for the first time since 2010, Limerick have to get wins away to Offaly and Laois in their final games.
Joint-manager TJ Ryan has confirmed that Declan Hannon and Seamus Hickey are unlikely to bolster their options for the vital games.
“Declan Hannon and Seamus Hickey probably won’t make the league,” said Ryan.
Definitely ruled out is David Breen, who is recovering after recent knee surgery.
The trio of Hannon, Hickey and Breen were all attacking starters in Limerick’s run to the Munster title last Summer.
Despite their continued absence, Limerick have run up a tally of 4-57 in their three games to-date.
Hickey and Hannon are back in light training but Ryan has appeared to rule out any quick return.
However, the Na Piarsaigh contingent are now back in full training following a break in the aftermath of their All-Ireland semi-final loss to Portumna.
Kevin Downes and Shane Dowling have seen action in the league but could be set to start together for the first time in Tullamore this Sunday.
“The more players we have back the better and today they made a big difference,” said the joint-manager in reference to Na Piarsaigh duo Downes and Dowling.
The bookies now make Limerick the 4/7 favourites to finish on top of the division and gain promotion.
The Shannonsiders are hot 2/7 favourites to win against win-less Offaly on Sunday.
“We move on to the next day - home advantage today was a help and now the next two games are away from home. We got to go to Tullamore next week and it’s a cup final and we have to win it,” said Ryan after the three point win over Wexford on Sunday.
“We win our next two games and then we see what happens - definitely we have to look at the games and firstly think that it is about winning the games and after that we can’t control,” said Ryan in reference to scoring average being the eventual deciding factor between Limerick and Cork.
At present Limerick have a 13-point advantage over The Rebels.