THE countdown to the June 4 Munster SHC semi final has begun in earnest with confirmation of the Limerick panel and the first pre-championship challenge game.
John Kiely and his backroom team confirmed a 31-man panel this Tuesday, omitting seven players that were involved during the Allianz Hurling League.
The new-look panel will have their first outing this Sunday, May 30 at 7pm when Limerick play Cork in a challenge game in Old Christians GAA grounds in Rathbane.
Adult entry tickets are €10, students and OAP’s tickets are €5. U-16’s are free. Supervised parking is available in the car parks of Heatmerchants and the Limerick Enterprise Development Partnership (LEDP) at the old Krups site adjacent to the Maldron Hotel.
A total of 17 different clubs are represented in Limerick’s championship panel with 2016 All Ireland club SHC winners Na Piarsaigh leading the way with seven players on a panel that is captained by James Ryan with vice-captains Diarmaid Byrnes and Gearoid Hegarty.
Nine of the senior panel are eligible for the U-21 grade this season – the Pat Donnelly managed Limerick play Tipperary in the Munster U-21 quarter final on June 22 in the Gaelic Grounds.
Gone from the new-look senior panel are John Fitzgibbon, Seanie Tobin, Kevin Downes, Seanie and Kevin O’Brien, Andrew La Touche Cosgrave and David McCarthy. Fitzgibbon, Tobin, Downes and Seanie O'Brien have all played senior championship with Limerick in the past. While Kevin Downes was part of the Limerick league panel, he is continuing his battle back from last September's cruciate ligament operation. It is hoped that he may play some part for Na Piarsaigh in next months's opening two rounds of the Limerick SHC.
11 of the 2017 panel have no previous senior championship experience, although just five of the 31 weren’t part of TJ Ryan’s panel last season.
The 31-man championship panel selected by Kiely, Jimmy Quilty, Brian Geary, Paul Kinnerk and Joe O’Connor comes after they have had 43 different players in their panel since last November.
PANEL: Shane Dowling, Ronan Lynch, Mike Casey, Peter Casey, Alan Dempsey, David Dempsey, William O’Donoghue (all Na Piarsaigh), Diarmaid Byrnes, Cian Lynch, Aaron Gillane (all Patrickswell), Richie English, Pat Ryan, Darragh O’Donovan (all Doon), Gavin O’Mahony, Barry Hennessy, Graeme Mulcahy (all Kilmallock), Dan Morrissey and Tom Morrissey (both Ahane), Paul Browne and Sean Finn (both Bruff), Richie McCarthy (Blackrock), Nickie Quaid (Effin), Kyle Hayes (Kildimo-Pallaskenry), Tom Condon (Knockaderry), Seamus Hickey (Murroe-Boher), Colin Ryan (Pallasgreen), Gearoid Hegarty (St Patricks), Stephen Cahill (Tournafulla), Barry Nash (South Liberties), Declan Hannon (Adare), James Ryan (Garryspillane).