ALAN Dempsey has been rewarded for his sparkling displays in Na Piarsaigh’s All Ireland run with a call-up to the Limerick senior hurling panel.
It’s back to the drawing board for the Limerick senior hurlers this week after another promotion failure in the Allianz Hurling League.
Across all strands of Limerick GAA there was no hiding from the disappointment of facing into a seventh successive season in tier two next Spring.
“We are bitterly disappointed - we didn’t start well and Clare started the better and that score stayed all the way through. The sending off had an effect on the game because we were chasing our tail all the way through the second half,” surmised Limerick manager TJ Ryan.
We wanted to get out of this and wanted to win Division 1B – to be still stuck in Division 1B is disappointing,” he sighed.
The defeat in the promotion defining clash means Limerick will face 2017 league opposition from Wexford, Offaly, two from Laois/Kerry/Carlow/Westmeath and Cork or Galway.
Ryan and his management team attempt to get back on track this Easter Bank Holiday weekend with a challenge game away to Galway. The panel trained on Tuesday night and will again on Thursday ahead of a trip to Galway on Saturday to face Liam Donohue’s side, who are preparing for a Division 1A relegation final against Cork in two weeks.
Back into the Limerick inter-county fold will be returning players from All Ireland champions Na Piarsaigh – including a call-up this week for Alan Dempsey.
That means that nine players from the Caherdavin club are currently in the plans of management – Dempsey, Shane Dowling, Kevin Downes, Cathall King, Adrian Breen, Ronan Lynch, David Dempsey, Mike Casey and Will O’Donoghue.
Praising the “serious achievement" of Na Piarsaigh, Ryan confirmed that he hadn’t called up their players for the Clare game.
”Realistically they played a match on Thursday and with the celebrations of winning an All Ireland physically, mentally and emotionally it was going to take a lot of them,” said Ryan.
“We will have them back next weekend.”
After league heart break the pieces have to be picked up for an April 9 league quarter final against Dublin in a game due to take place in Parnell Park on that Saturday evening at 7.00.
”We are in a quarter final and we play again in two weeks time - this is extremely disappointing and we make no secret about that. It’s two weeks this time - last year we were back straight away. We have some time so that is where the focus is now,” said the Limerick hurling manager.
Last year Dublin knocked Limerick out of both the league and championship.
“We owe them,” said Ryan of Ger Cunningham’s Dublin.
The clash is a repeat of last year’s Croke Park quarter final when Dublin eased past Limerick, 1-15 to 0-16. Dublin also ended Limerick’s championship last Summer, with a 1-17 to 1-16 win in Thurles.
Victory over Dublin would book an April 17 semi final against Waterford or Wexford, who have home advantage in their quarter final.
With Munster championship against Tipperary or Cork not down the road until June 19, Limerick management would surely welcome at least another competitive run-out before the league officially ends.
Limerick gave competitive league action to 28 different players in five games from the panel of 42 that was named in early January. It’s a panel that no longer includes Seanie Tobin, Mikey Ryan, Thomas O’Brien, John Riordan, Kieran O’Rourke and Mike Reidy. Sean Finn is out for the remainder of the season after under-going a cruciate ligament operation two weeks ago.
That leaves Limerick’s management of TJ Ryan, Davy Clarke, Don Flynn, Dinny Cahill and Joe O’Connor working with 36-players at present.
James Ryan pictured up an injury in the loss to Clare but it won’t keep him out of action beyond this weekend, while Barry Nash won’t be serving any suspension as he dismissal was for two yellow cards in the final minutes of the opening half in Cusack Park last Sunday.
UPDATED SENIOR HURLING PANEL: Shane Dowling, Kevin Downes, Cathall King, Adrian Breen, Ronan Lynch, Mike Casey, David Dempsey, Will O’Donoghue, Alan Dempsey (all Na Piarsaigh), Seanie and Kevin O’Brien, Diarmaid Byrnes, Cian Lynch (all Patrickswell), Barry Hennessy, Paudie O’Brien, Gavin O’Mahony, Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock), Declan Hannon, Wayne McNamara, John Fitzgibbon (all Adare), Richie English, Darragh O’Donovan, Pat Ryan (all Doon), Dan and Tom Morrissey (both Ahane), Paul Browne (Bruff), David Reidy (Dromin-Athlacca), Seamus Hickey (Murroe-Boher), Barry Nash (South Liberties), Nickie Quaid (Effin), Richie McCarthy (Blackrock), James Ryan (Garryspillane), David McCarthy (Glenroe), Tom Condon (Knockaderry), Barry O’Connell (Kildimo-Pallaskenry), Gearoid Hegarty (St Patricks).