LIMERICK’S U-21 hurling team will be forced into at least one change for Saturday’s All Ireland semi final.
High flying Galway stand between Limerick and a fifth ever All Ireland U-21 hurling final. The semi final takes place in Thurles on Saturday (6.00).
In attempting to reach a first final since 2002, Limerick will have to plan without wing forward Robbie Hanley. The Kilmallock man sustained a shoulder injury in training last week and yesterday manager John Kiely confirmed that the teenager won’t win his fitness battle.
Still battling to be ready for the semi final are Kevin O’Brien and Gearoid Hegarty.
Their roles are “up in the air”, according to the manager, who will name his team after training on Thursday evening.
“Kevin O’Brien is 100% finished with his rehab and it’s now just about getting sharp. Gearoid Hegarty is making great progress and we are watching him closely to see if you will be 100% for Saturday. He is working so hard to get himself right. He did some running on Sunday and is hitting some balls,” outlined John Kiely.
The bookies make Galway the 5/6 favourites to repeat their 2011 All Ireland semi final win over Limerick.
“Galway as a county is on a crest of a wave and this will be a huge challenge for is - everything will have to go for us,” said the manager.
The Tribesmen have already won the All Ireland intermediate final this year and on Sunday booked their place in the senior and minor finals. Only Limerick can deny them a fourth All Ireland spot - against Wexford or Antrim on September 12.
While Limerick have overcome Tipperary and Clare, Galway play their first game of the season on Saturday.
“They will obviously have seen us in our two games in the Munster Championship. They have a big overlap with their senior team and their intermediate team so there is no risk of them not having game time,” said the Limerick manager.
“I would have been very pleased with the two performances but constantly looking for improvements. We improved from the Tipperary game to the Clare game and will have to improve again,” he warned of the game that will be live on TG4.