Kevin Downes returns after injury
THE Limerick senior hurlers are preparing for the 2018 season ahead with a new-look 38-man panel.
There are 10 additions to John Kiely’s 2017 championship panel with Kevin Downes (pictured) returning after his cruciate ligament injury and David Reidy back after hurling with Kildare last season.
In total, 16 players from this year’s All Ireland U-21 winning panel are included – five getting a first senior call-up.
The full list of additions to the 2017 panel includes: Daragh Fanning, Paddy O’Loughlin, Thomas Grimes, Andrew La Touche Cosgrave, David Reidy, Conor Boylan, Kevin Downes, Oisin O’Reilly, Barry Murphy and Seamus Flanagan.
On top of this season’s U-21 All Ireland winners, there are also seven from the 2015 All Ireland U-21 side.
In total 10 of the panel are two-time All Ireland U-21 winners.
A further five players can be traced back to the 2011 Munster U-21 winning side, while the three elder statesman are Seamus Hickey, Richie McCarthy and Tom Condon – all from the 2005 All Ireland minor final.
Eight of the new-look senior panel will be eligible for the U-21 grade next season – Peter Casey, Kyle Hayes and six of the newcomers; O’Loughlin, Grimes, Boylan, O’Reilly, Murphy and Flanagan.
There are 18 different clubs represented in the panel, Limerick SHC winners Na Piarsaigh leading the way with 10 players. There are nine senior clubs, five from the Premier IHC ranks and four from the 2018 county IHC.
The new Limerick captain is expected to be named ahead of the start of the Munster Hurling League on December 30.
Speaking to LeaderSport this Wednesday, Limerick manager John Kiely stressed that the panel remains “under constant review”.
“There has to be a sense of renewal from year to year. Part of it is to give this years U-21s a taste for what is required and involved at senior level. There has to be a progression to senior level and it’s always good to freshen up a panel,” said Kiely.
”We are still watching out for players and will always do that. This panel is under constant review and it really is up to the players to make it as hard as possible to leave them out,” said the Limerick manager.
Although 66% of the panel are under the age of 24, in his first season at the helm, John Kiely and his management team of Paul Kinnerk, Jimmy Quilty, Brian Geary, Joe O’Connor and Alan Cunningham gave seven different players a championship debut.
In total 27 of the 38 players on the 2018 panel have championship experience ahead of the extended four game Munster SHC next May and June.
PANEL: Shane Dowling, Alan Dempsey, David Dempsey, Ronan Lynch, Mike Casey, Peter Casey, William O’Donoghue, Thomas Grimes, Conor Boylan and Kevin Downes (all Na Piarsaigh); Barry Hennessy, Graeme Mulcahy, Paddy O’Loughlin and Oisin O’Reilly (all Kilmallock); Richie English, Pat Ryan, Darragh O’Donovan and Barry Murphy (all Doon); Diarmaid Byrnes, Cian Lynch and Aaron Gillane (all Patrickswell); Dan Morrissey and Tom Morrissey (both Ahane); Paul Browne and Sean Finn (both Bruff); Colin Ryan and Daragh Fanning (both Pallasgreen); Tom Condon (Knockaderry), Declan Hannon (Adare), Richie McCarthy (Blackrock), Nickie Quaid (Effin), Kyle Hayes (Kildimo-Pallaskenry), Seamus Hickey (Murroe-Boher), Barry Nash (South Liberties), Gearoid Hegarty (St Patricks), Andrew La Touche Cosgrave (Monaleen), David Reidy (Dromin-Athlacca), Seamus Flanagan (Feohanagh-Castlemahon).