After four pre-season games in the Munster Senior League, Joel Slattery looks at the form of the Limerick hurlers ahead of their Division 1B game.
While there was frustration at losing the inaugural Munster Senior League on Saturday night in the Gaelic Grounds, TJ Ryan learned a lot about his squad of players during the four games played in January.
For Limerick’s more experienced players it was a chance to run off the cobwebs and get settled back into hurling ahead of the 2016 season and for the younger players who were part of the successful U-21 All-Ireland winning side last year it was a chance to prove to the management that they can be equally effective at senior level.
Below we go player-by-player and assess the Limerick squad ahead of the NHL opener against Wexford on February 13.
Donal O’Grady’s successor as captain of the county side started three games in the pre-season. An injury sustained against Waterford was quickly shaken off and he played the full game against Clare and didn’t concede a goal throughout the whole competition.
The young Bruff man played three full games (the Waterford game the exception). Finn proved himself capable at this level and saw 210 minutes of game time (joint second in the panel).
Started three games at full-back throughout the campaign. Interestingly, he was moved to wing-back when Richie McCarthy came on against Clare.
One of the Doon trio brought into the squad after last year’s under-21 campaign. He will have learned a lot in his 175 minutes of action and see action in the League and Championship.
O’Brien made three starts in the Munster League and had a solid pre-season despite being taken off at half-time against Clare.
Played the full game against Kerry and Waterford where he was man-of-the-match. Possibly Limerick’s strongest performer in the tournament who will be very close to starting come Championship, possibly even at centre-back.
With so many young defenders coming into the squad, Hickey showed great leadership in his three appearances where he played all 70 minutes.
Played 130 minutes over the first three games, and scored a point against Kerry.
One of only two players to play all four games (although he only featured briefly against Cork), Browne averaged a point a game.
O’Donovan played more hurling than any other player in the pre-season getting 226 minutes under his belt. His goal against Cork, set up by club-mate Pat Ryan, was one of the highlights for Limerick in January.
O’Mahony played at centre-forward in the competition, a position he has featured in with Kilmallock but not often with Limerick. He scored 0-3 in 167 minutes hurling.
The Ahane man scored 0-5 against Kerry and 1-1 against Waterford so it was a good pre-season. Only half a dozen players got more game time than Morrissey who was Limerick’s third highest scorer across the four games.
With three appearances and 0-6, Tobin will be confident coming into the league. As TJ Ryan has a number of options up front, Tobin will have to stay in form to keep a starting jersey
Limerick’s top scorer with 1-21 in three appearances totalling 189 minutes. Played very well from open play but struggled when on free-taking duty
Along with Diarmaid Byrnes, Reidy was one of Limerick’s top performers. Not exactly new to the panel, it was somewhat of a break-out competition for Reidy who scored 2-10 in 191 minutes up until the final where he did not feature
Got 170 minutes of senior inter-county hurling under his belt. Very impressive against Clare where he scored 0-4.
Only played the second half against Kerry. After a very good club campaign with Bruree, O’Rourke would have liked more game time to break into the match-day panel
Ryan made substitute appearances against Kerry and Clare but played 70 minutes against Cork. Set up Darragh O’Donovan’s goal to seal the win against the Rebels and scored 0-1 in the final
Only played 21 minutes against Kerry, but did get a goal in that game
Played a total of 27 minutes between the Kerry and Waterford matches. Dromin-Athlacca supporters would have enjoyed seeing him line out alongside David Reidy in the closing stages of the Kerry match
Hennessey played the 70 minutes against Cork and 42 minutes against Waterford when Nickie Quaid got injured. Conceded one goal – a screamer from Austin Gleeson - but is behind Quiad in the pecking order
Only played the Waterford match where he played 52 minutes. Condon will look to get more minutes under his belt in the league as the championship approaches
O’Brien played from start to finish against Cork and Waterford and played well. Played both corner and wing back and coped well in both positions
The Kildimo-Pallaskenry man played centre-back against Cork and Clare. O’Connell may not break into the starting 15 for championship but is a good asset for TJ Ryan if required
Ryan also played the Cork and Clare games. Hard to see anyone taking his place in midfield alongside Paul Browne
Scored 1-2 in 115 minutes and featured in every game bar the opening match with Kerry.
It was a good campaign for the Patrickswell man who scored 0-5 between the Cork and Clare matches. He also created a number of chances including setting up Graeme Mulcahy’s goal against Cork
O’Brien was on the field for 96 minutes between the Cork and Waterford games, scoring 0-2 in the Gaelic Grounds against Derek McGrath’s side.
Played 130 minutes in the final three games of the Munster League. McCarthy is hurling well coming into the NHL, playing particularly well against Clare when introduced at half time.
Made a brief appearance against Cork in Mallow and played the full game against Waterford. In for a huge battle to get a spot in a really competitive half back line
The Templeglantine man only played against Cork, coming on after 67 minute
O’Brien made substitute appearances totalling 27 minutes against Waterford and Clare. Scored a crucial goal against Waterford and had a crucial miss against the Banner