LIMERICK senior football manaher Billy Lee can see many parallels between Limerick football in 2017 and that of the ‘Liam Kearns era’.
For six seasons Lee was a selector under Kearns as they brought Limerick to Munster finals and a NFL semi final.
But they started out with a league campaign that returned just a win over London and six defeats.
”When we started out in 2000 the scene at that time was probably no different - there was a fantastic bunch of U-21s and they won a Munster Championship and played in an All Ireland Final and they came on board to support the likes of (John) Quane, Muiris (Gavin) , Diarmuid Sheehy and Damien Reidy, Micheal Reidy and players of that calibre. In many senses it a bit similar in that we have lost eight players that part taked in the game last year so it’s quite a new bunch of players,” outlined Billy Lee.
Clare are hot favourites.
”The four so-called weaker teams in Munster have no hang-ups about eachother. I remember we played Clare in 2003 in a Munster semi final below in Cusack Park and we would have then played in the Munster final and in the National League final and that didn’t matter a damn to Clare and we were lucky to get out alive,” recalled Lee.
”The shoe is on the other foot now and we have fallen behind in the pecking order and there is disputing that and we have to accept that and embrace the challenge as an organisation within the county to go and try and produce footballers to get us back up and increase standards - we are not going to go from zero to 100 in seconds, this will take time,” stressed the Newcastle West man.
”We have a lot of work done on the training ground - trying to encourage the lads to play the football style we are trying to play. They have worked hard and are a fantastic bunch in that regard - they take on board everything that we throw at them. We are looking for a performance up in Cusack Park,” said Lee.
”In other counties 23 and 24 year old are making their way onto county teams but we have fellas 24, 23, 22, 21 and asking them to be leaders and that is a big ask and I don’t think people realise the enormity of that task.”