ALL Limerick senior hurling clubs have now finalised their management teams for 2017.
Just four clubs have opted for total change for the new championship, which commences on the first weekend of May. Ahane, Doon, South Liberties and Knockainey all start 2017 with new-look backroom teams.
Former Laois hurling manager Niall Rigney is to play a role with Doon. Rigney will work under former Tipperary hurler Austin Buckley (Cappawhite), who is team manager. Buckley replaces last season’s Declan Carr led management. Niall Rigney led James Stephens to the 2011 Kilkenny SHC after spending the previous three years at the helm of his native county. It is understood that Rigney won't be with Doon full-time but will take weekend coaching sessions.
With Maurice O’Brien now part of the Limerick U-21 management, Ahane have appointed Clare brothers Colm and Eoghan Hanley to lead their management. Colm Hanley is a former Clare camogie manager.
Also out east, South Liberties return to Sean Hehir as coach, replacing Tommy Dunne (Toomevara).
The fourth club to change is Knockainey - 2016 manager Natal O'Grady is to manage the Ballyhea senior hurlers in 2017. Tom Moloney is the new Knockainey manager-coach.
Limerick county champions Patrickswell have Gary Kirby back for a second year as manager. With Ross Corbett now working with the Sydney Swans Aussie Rules side, The Well have Paudie Carey as their new strength and conditioning coach. Patrickswell have also added Damien Gillane as a selector - he was involved with Effin last year.
Na Piarsaigh continue with their All Ireland winning management led by manager Shane O’Neill. Former Clare and Offaly senior hurling coach Alan Cunningham remains as coach, along with his role as Limerick senior hurling goalkeeping coach under John Kiely.
Kilmallock have James Connery as manager with former Limerick City Games Development Administrator Ger Downes as coach.
Ballybrown were the surprise packet of 2016 and they continue with the set-up that guided them to a county final appearance. Adare, Bruff and newly promoted pair Cappamore and Monaleen are also unchanged.
Like Cunningham in Na Piarsaigh, Monaleen manager Jimmy Browne is to combine his Limerick SHC role with his position in Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor’s Clare senior hurling management.
For 2017, just over 50% of the clubs have looked outside of Limerick for coaching assistance - Na Piarsaigh, Ahane, Monaleen, South Liberties and Bruff all with Clare coaches and Doon turning to Laois, while Patrickswell coach Declan Fitzgerald is a native of Buttevant.
Adare and Knockainey are fully home-grown, while Kilmallock, Ballybrown and Cappamore have all sourced ‘outside coaches’ from within Limerick.
ADARE - Paul Keane (manager), Donncha Sheehan, Colm Cribbin, Sean Brennan, Timmy Houlihan (all selectors).
AHANE - Colm and Eoghan Hanley (joint managers-coaches), Dave Crowley (strength and conditioning coach), Seanie O’Connor and Ger Mulcahy (both selectors).
BALLYBROWN - Evan Loftus (manager), David Bulfin (coach), Mike Lynch (strength and conditioning coach), Pat Gavin and Robert Graham (both selectors).
BRUFF - Mike O’Hara (manager), Francis Browne (coach).
CAPPAMORE - Liam Hammersley (manager), Tony Power (coach), Seamus Ryan (selector).
DOON - Austin Buckley (manager), Niall Rigney (coach), Tadhg Hayes (selector).
KILMALLOCK - James Connery (manager), Ger Downes (coach-selector), Mike Heelan (selector).
KNOCKAINEY - Tom Moloney (coach-manager).
MONALEEN - Jimmy Browne (manager-coach), Alan Ward (strength and conditioning coach), Ged O’Dwyer, Edward Cosgrave, Eamonn Doyle, Eamonn Cosgrave (all selectors).
NA PIARSAIGH - Shane O’Neill (manager), Alan Cunningham (coach), Darragh Droog (strength and conditioning coach), Kieran Bermingham (selector).
PATRICKSWELL - Gary Kirby (manager), Declan Fitzgerald (coach), Paudie Carey (strength and conditioning coach), John O’Brien, Darragh Bennis and Damien Gillane (all selectors).
SOUTH LIBERTIES - Cronan Garry and Cathal O’Neill (managers), Sean Hehir (coach).
GROUP 1 – Doon, Ahane, South Liberties, Bruff, Ballybrown, Kilmallock.
GROUP 2 – Cappamore, Na Piarsaigh, Knockainey, Monaleen, Patrickswell, Adare.
DATES – Round 1: May 4-7; Round 2: May 11-15; Round 3: June 8-13; Round 4: July 27-30; Round 5: August 24-27; Quarter Finals: Sept 10; Semi finals: Sept 24; Final: Oct 8
ODDS – Na Piarsaigh 10/11, Patrickswell 7/2, Kilmallock 4/1, Doon 15/2, Adare 10/1, Ballybrown 14/1, Ahane 20/1, Monaleen 25/1, South Liberties 33/1, Cappamore 66/1, Bruff 100/1, Knockainey 100/1