THE Limerick senior hurlers are to work with a 36-man panel for the Allianz Hurling League.
For the seventh successive season Limerick will play in the second tier – Division 1B. They face opposition from Galway, Wexford, Offaly, Laois and Kerry.
The league opens for the Limerick hurlers this Sunday February 12 with a trip to Wexford for what will be the first big game for Davy Fitzgerald as manager of the men from the south-east.
John Kiely and management – Brian Geary, Jimmy Quilty, Paul Kinnerk and Joe O’Connor – have made a number of changes to their panel since the end of the Munster Hurling League.
Along with the withdrawal of Barry Nash, there are departures for Barry O’Connell, Robbie Hanley, Aaron Gillane, Lorcan Lyons and Seamus Flanagan.
Recently added to the panel was Will O’Donoghue.
Indeed just five of the panel weren’t part of TJ Ryan's plans in 2016 – Kyle Hayes, Peter Casey, Andrew La Touche Cosgrave, Colin Ryan and Stephen Cahill.
The 36-man panel is drawn from 18 different clubs – eight senior, five from the Premier IHC, three IHC clubs and two junior clubs. Three clubs (Monaleen, Pallasgreen and Kildimo-Pallaskenry) now have players on both county senior panels.
2016 All Ireland club SHC winners Na Piarsaigh lead the way with eight players, while 2016 Limerick SHC winners Patrickswell have four.
The panel includes four sets of brothers – Morrissey (Ahane), Casey and Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh) and O’Brien (Patrickswell).
Eight of the panel are U-21 for the season ahead.
Twenty three of the panel have previous championship experience, with therefore 13 to make their debuts. Of that 13, three played in the league last season, leaving 10 possible debutantes over the next two months.
Just four of the panel Sean Finn, Shane Dowling, Will O’Donoghue and Kevin Downes didn’t feature during the Co Op Superstores.ie Munster Hurling League.
It is unlikely that Downes will play in the league as he continues to recover from last September’s cruciate ligament operation. It is understood he will concentrate on his rehab and recovery with his club Na Piarsaigh and be monitored by the medical team and by Limerick’s strength and conditioning coach Joe O'Connor.
PANEL: Declan Hannon (Adare), John Fitzgibbon (Adare), Dan Morrissey (Ahane), Tom Morrissey (Ahane), Richie McCarthy (Blackrock), Paul Browne (Bruff), Sean Finn (Bruff), Richie English (Doon), Pat Ryan (Doon), Darragh O’Donovan (Doon), Nickie Quaid (Effin), David McCarthy (Glenroe), Kyle Hayes (Kildimo-Pallaskenry), Gavin O’Mahony (Kilmallock), Barry Hennessy (Kilmallock), Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock), Tom Condon (Knockaderry), Andrew La Touche Cosgrave (Monaleen), Seamus Hickey (Murroe-Boher), Seanie Tobin (Murroe-Boher), Alan Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh), Shane Dowling (Na Piarsaigh), Ronan Lynch (Na Piarsaigh), Mike Casey (Na Piarsaigh), Peter Casey (Na Piarsaigh), David Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh), Will O’Donoghue (Na Piarsaigh), Kevin Downes (Na Piarsaigh), Colin Ryan (Pallasgreen), Seanie O’Brien (Patrickswell), Diarmaid Byrnes (Patrickswell), Kevin O’Brien (Patrickswell), Cian Lynch (Patrickswell), Gearoid Hegarty (St Patricks), Stephen Cahill (Tournafulla), James Ryan (Garryspillane).
DIVISION 1B FIXTURES
Sunday February 12 – Wexford v Limerick in Wexford at 2.00
Sunday February 19 – Limerick v Kerry in the Gaelic Grounds at 2.00
Saturday March 4 – Limerick v Offaly in the Gaelic Grounds at 5.00
Saturday March 11 – Laois v Limerick in Portlaoise at 7.00
Sunday March 26 – Limerick v Galway in the Gaelic Grounds at 3.00
April 1/2 – Hurling quarter finals