GEAROID Hegarty will embark on his dual dream with Limerick this Sunday.
The St Patricks man has made it clear that his wishes to try and play both inter-county hurling and football with Limerick in 2016.
In recent weeks the 21 year old has trained with both TJ Ryan’s hurlers and John Brudair’s footballers.
Last weekend Hegarty lined out in midfield when the footballers opened their season with a one point defeat to Cork. Hegarty is in his third season with the senior footballers and is team vice-captain this year.
He came to hurling prominence when staring at wing back in Limerick’s run to September’s All Ireland U-21 title. That earned him a call-up to TJ Ryan’s extended senior panel. With the footballers not in competitive action, Hegarty will be in the senior hurling panel to play Waterford this Sunday as he moves closer to following in the footsteps of his father Ger.
Limerick’s hurling team to play Waterford in Sunday’s round two fixture in the Munster Senior Hurling League will show a number of changes from the side that beat Kerry last weekend.
“You will see a different team next week with new players,” said TJ Ryan of the game in the GAA grounds of Waterford Institute of Technology.
“We have a couple of knocks Richie McCarthy (finger) and James Ryan (chest) but nothing to keep anyone out for a while or a period of time. We are without the Na Piarsaigh players of course,” said the Limerick manager.
While Sunday will be Limerick’s second outing, the game in Carriganore will be Waterford’s first competitive outing of 2016.
Limerick only used six players from the 2015 championship team in Sunday’s 11-point win over Kerry. Others like Tom Condon, Wayne McNamara, Seanie O’Brien and Graeme Mulcahy could be set for their seasonal debut next weekend.
Five of Limerick’s All Ireland winning U-21 side were given senior starts last weekend. Others are likely to be given starts this weekend with Hegarty, Barry O’Connell, Kevin O’Brien, Barry Nash, Pat Ryan and Cian Lynch also in the panel at present.
Others that will be in line for starts are goalkeeper Barry Hennessy and John Riordan and both Kieran O’Rourke and Mike Reidy, who were introduced as subs in the win over Kerry.
TJ Ryan and selectors Davy Clarke and Don Flynn are operating with a panel in excess of 30 at present and that does not include eight Na Piarsaigh players, who will remain absent until at least February 6 when they play Oulart The Ballagh in the All Ireland club SHC semi final. Ryan has confirmed that his 2016 panel won’t be finalised until Na Piarsaigh’s players join after their club run, be it in February or after March 17.
Limerick are on their travels for the next two Sundays – on January 17 Cork are the opponents in Mallow.
The last of Limerick’s four guaranteed games is at home to Clare on January 24.
The new Munster Senior Hurling League has replaced the Waterford Crystal Cup, which Limerick won last year with wins over Waterford, UCC and Cork.
”To be honest a competition like this is better than challenge games because they is something to play for and you want to win the games and you get a proper look at fellas and you will more of them over the coming weeks,” said Ryan.
“The format allows us to go and try players because we have four structured games over four weekends and I think its a good idea.”
Adding to the benefits of the new-look early season provincial competition is that Third Level Colleges are no longer included, meaning that all inter-county managements have full panels to select from, bar injuries or club commitments.
Given the youthful nature of the Limerick panel at present, a host of players will be involved in the Fitzgibbon Cup, which commences on January 28 with UL, LIT and Mary Immaculate all involved.