LIMERICK’S defence of their All Ireland U-21 hurling crown begins this Tuesday evening in Cork.
Nine months after winning a fifth national crown at this level, John Kiely’s Limerick play Cork in Pairc Ui Rinn in round one of the Munster U-21 championship. The game (7.30) will be live on TG4.
Limerick have selected 10 of their All Ireland U-21 hurling final team in the line-up for Cork quarter final.
Four of John Kiely’s 2015 winning team are overage (Diarmaid Byrnes, Gearoid Hegarty, Barry O’Connell and David McCarthy), while Sean Finn is out injured for the season.
Into the team come Eoghan McNamara, Sean Flanagan, Andrew La Touche Cosgrave, Aaron Gillane and Peter Casey – all were part of last season’s winning panel.
Limerick are working with a 38-man panel this season and 23 remain from last season.
A trip to Thurles to play Tipperary in a July 13 semi final is the prize on offer for Limerick.
Manager John Kiely accepts that 2016 is a changed world from last year. Limerick were an unfancied force from the outset of 2015 and management of Kiely, Jimmy Quilty, John Flavin and Ross Corbett pretty much had unhindered preparations with just two on TJ Ryan’s senior inter-county panel.
This time round there are nine county senior panellists and Limerick will very much be in the limelight as champions.
”This year is a different situation but I would rather the challenge we face coming from where we are, than we would if we were beaten in the first round last year,” outlined Kiely, who has confirmed Mike Casey of Na Piarsaigh as captain and Doon’s Darragh O’Donovan as vice-captain.
“You would always love to have more time to prepare but we will go down to Cork happy with preparations. We have plenty guys with the seniors and that’s understandable and ultimately senior is where you want players to go,” said Kiely.
Cian Lynch, Richie English, Barry Nash and Tom Morrissey played in the Munster SHC loss to Tipperary.
LIMERICK: Eoghan McNamara (Doon); Mike Casey (Na Piarsaigh), Richie English (Doon), Sean Flanagan (Feohanagh); Colin Ryan (Pallasgreen), Ronan Lynch (Na Piarsaigh), Andrew La Touche Cosgrave (Monaleen); Darragh O’Donovan (Doon), Pat Ryan (Doon); Cian Lynch (Patrickswell), Tom Morrissey (Ahane), David Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh); Aaron Gillane (Patrickswell), Barry Nash (South Liberties) Peter Casey (Na Piarsaigh). Subs: Cian O’Dwyer (Monaleen), Lorcan Lyons (Monaleen), Stephen Cahill (Tournafulla), Oisin O’Reilly (Kilmallock), Jack Quaid (Effin), Barry Murphy (Doon), John Fox (Ahane), Dean Coleman (Doon), Paddy Morrissey (Ahane).
CORK: Patrick Collins (Ballinhassig); Darren Browne (Kanturk), Sean O’Donoghue (Inniscarra), David Griffin (Carrigaline); Rickard Cahalane (Ballymartle), Mark Coleman (Blarney), Conor Twomey (Newtownshandrum); Niall Cashman (Blackrock), David Noonan (Glen Rovers); Darragh Fitzgibbon (Charleville), Shane Kingston (Douglas), Pa O’Callaghan (Ballyhea); Anthony Spillane (Castlelyons), Tim O’Mahony (Newtownshandrum), Luke Meade (Newcestown).