Minor hurlers look to reach All Ireland semi-final

Minor hurlers look to reach All Ireland semi-final

THE Limerick minor hurling manager has said that the opportunity to return to Croke Park is strong motivation for his side as they prepare to face Wexford in the All-Ireland quarter-final on Sunday in Thurles.
It is the fourth year in a row that Limerick will be involved in the All-Ireland series, but didn’t play at HQ last year as Galway beat them in the quarter-final.
The county minor team did play at the Jones Road venue in 2013 and 2014 and Donnelly thinks the chance to play on the hallowed turf could spur his side on.
“The talent is there and there is the carrot of the chance to play at Croke Park. It’s a huge carrot for any 17 or 18 year old to have going into a match,” he said ahead of the weekend’s clash.
Both sides enter this tie on the back of defeats in their respective provincial finals. Wexford were beaten by Dublin while Limerick suffered a 17-point hammering at the hands of Tipperary.
However, the South Liberties clubman feels his side can bounce back from that heavy defeat in the Gaelic Grounds, saying he believes the occasion got to his young players.
“We met the players since to talk to them. I think the occasion got to them, now people may not accept that, but it’s what I think.
“I’m working with a lot of these guys for around five years and I’ve never seen it happen where so many players did not perform on the day, he added.”
Donnelly knows that Limerick need a big improvement in performance if they are to overcome the challenge of Wexford – who should have big support in Thurles as their senior team take on Waterford later the same day.
“We know that from a good while ago (that they were playing the Leinster runners-up). Wexford beat Dublin earlier in the year and were unlucky in the Leinster final, Dublin got two late goals to beat them.
“They’ve had an extra week to prepare and that could prove costly.”
Limerick's preparations were not ideal for this quarter-final tie, as there was two rounds of the minor club championship played out since the Munster final.
The team manager was okay with a single round being played, however, admitted that there was nothing he could do as the competition is running behind schedule.
“(Training has been) interrupted a bit with two round of the minor championship. We were happy with one but it was out of our control,” he admitted.
“We had two sessions together (since the Munster final) but we couldn’t do too much.”
Despite this, Donnelly did see the benefit in the players getting the Tipperary game out of their minds – and a chance to get valuable game time under their belts.
“It was good to get away from it, to get a chance to play and express themselves with their clubs.”
Limerick almost have a full panel to choose from but Micheal Bourke suffered an ankle injury and he is “a serious doubt” for Sunday’s clash.