THE Limerick senior footballers have lined up a series of challenge game to mitigate against their absence from the McGrath Cup.
John Brudair’s side played Waterford last Sunday and face Clare this weekend.
Further games are planned ahead of the start of the National League on February 2 against Sligo.
Brudair and selectors Mike Fahy and Declan Brouder are operating with an extended panel at present but are to confirm a league panel in the coming weeks.
“There is certainly a willingness to learn in the group at present and the task is to transfer that into potential,” said Brudair.
“We had 41 at training last night. We have a lot of young fellas and only time will tell if their potential can materialise in games.”
Last weekend, Limerick lost to Waterford 2-7 to 1-14 in a game played over four periods of 20 minutes.
“We have matches arranged all the way up until the start of the league, and they’re good quality games. The games we’ll have won’t be competitive ones in the strictest sense, but we’ll be taking them just as seriously as we would the McGrath Cup,” said Brudair.
The new manager reports that Ian Ryan (ankle) and Stephen Kelly (knee) are both back in full training after long-term injury layoffs that saw them miss the 2013 championship.
“The panel is fairly sorted, we’re just waiting on a couple of senior players to make up their minds. I won’t name anybody as I don’t want to be putting pressure on them but they have been told that they’ll have to make a decision in the coming weeks.”
Limerick have another three weekends to finalise preparations for a return to Division Three of the league.
“The reality is that the main objective is to make sure that we stay in Division 3,” he said.
“Giving them experience without going backwards in terms of our progress is the most important thing during the league. We’re hopeful we can blend the new players with the more experienced ones and I’m confident we’ll be in a good position in terms of preparation by the time of the Sligo game.”
Limerick’s last venture out of the bottom division in the league saw them relegated straight back down. The bookies don’t favour Limerick’s prospects, ranking them seventh in the eight team group, with two to be relegated.
“If we got into a position where promotion was a possibility coming to the last few games of the league, we’d be delighted and obviously do our best to try to get it. We have a lot of new players on the panel though and playing in the league will be something that they’re not used to,” said Brudair.