UL's Kyle Hayes - centre back on Limerick's All Ireland U-21 winning side
THERE are a total of 42 Limerick players registered across 10 different Third Level Colleges as the Fitzgibbon Cup commences this weekend.
The prestigious senior hurling championship has returned to Limerick in each of the last three years and once again the trio of local colleges are among the favourites to lift the title in Mallow on Saturday February 24.
Holders Mary Immaculate, UL and LIT are kept apart in the group stages but there could be a local derby in the February 7/8 quarter finals.
Twenty two different local clubs will supply hurlers to varying college teams with just DIT, IT Carlow and UCC without Limerick representation in their declared Fitzgibbon Cup panels.
The list of 42 includes four sets of Limerick brothers; Conor and Brendan McSweeney (South Liberties), Kevin and Seanie O’Brien (Patrickswell), Paddy and Tom Morrissey (Ahane) and Mike and Peter Casey (Na Piarsaigh).
The Limerick contingent includes 18 members of John Kiely’s 38-man senior hurling county.
Defending champions Mary Immaculate are once again managed by Jamie Wall. Patrickswell duo Cian Lynch and Aaron Gillane, Na Piarsaigh duo Thomas Grimes and Kieran Daly and Mungret’s Cian O’Brien are all part of the South Circular Road panel.
Mary Immaculate begin their title defence with a repeat of last year’s final this Sunday when they are away to the DJ Carey managed Carlow. Mary Immaculate will complete their group phase with two home games against Trinity College and NUI Galway. The Dublin side will have Eoghan McNamara (Doon), Jack Banks (Old Christians) and David Long (Na Piarsaigh) in their panel, while the Galway side will have Ahane’s John Fix.
Also this Sunday, UL entertain DIT in Castletroy.
Patrickswell's Gary Kirby is the UL manager this season, taking over from Brian Lohan. Included in his backroom team is Declan Fitzgerald, who was with Kirby when Patrickswell won the 2016 Limerick SHC.
UL have the biggest Limerick contingent – 14 players and each one an All Ireland U-21 winner between 2015 and 2017. The full list is Gearoid Hegarty (St Patricks), Tom Morrissey (Ahane), Barry Nash (South Liberties), Sean Finn (Bruff), Pat Ryan (Doon), Ronan Lynch (Na Piarsaigh), Kyle Hayes (Kildimo-Pallaskenry), Lorcan Lyons (Monaleen), Dan Joy (Kilmallock), David McCarthy (Glenroe), Mike Casey (Na Piarsaigh), Barry Murphy (Doon), Kevin O’Brien (Patrickswell), Mikey Mackey (Adare).
UL will be away to Waterford IT on Thursday February 1 – WIT will have Patrickswell’s Seanie O’Brien in their panel.
Davy Fitzgerald’s LIT are grouped with DUC and the Garda College. The opening round tie against DCU is moved to next Monday to avoid a Sunday clash with the Champions Cup between Munster and Castres in Thomond Park and also the Walsh Cup final between Davy Fitzgerald's Wexford and Kilkenny.
DCU will come to Moylish with South Liberties’ Conor McSweeney in their panel. The Dublin side are managed by Limerick native Eoin Roche. The former St Senans clubman is also a Dublin U-21 hurling selector this season.
LIT have 10 locals in their panel – Andrew La Touche Cosgrave (Monaleen), Brendan O’Connor (Adare), Cian Hedderman (Ballybrown), Darren O’Connell (Kildimo-Pallaskenry), Diarmaid Byrnes (Patrickswell), Eoin Quilty (South Liberties), Jack Quaid (Effin), Paddy Morrissey (Ahane), Peter Casey (Na Piarsaigh), William O’Meara Askeaton).
When LIT play Garda College, the Tipperary based side will have three from Limerick in their panel – Denis O’Connor (Granagh-Ballingarry), Seamus Murphy (Templeglantine) and Brendan McSweeney (South Liberties).
Management: Jamie Wall, Cormac McGrath and Denis Ferncombe.
Last year: Champions
Roll of honour: Winners in 2016 and 2017
Limerick players: Thomas Grimes, Cian O’Brien, Cian Lynch, Kieran Daly, Aaron Gillane.
County men: Luke Meade and Tim O’Mahony (Cork), Thomas Monaghan (Galway), Gary Cooney and Colin Guilfoyle (Clare).
Management: Gary Kirby, Declan Fitzgerald, Shane Hassett, Kieran McDermott, Ger Cunningham.
Last year: Lost quarter final to IT Carlow
Roll of honour: Winners in 1989, 1994, 2002, 2011 and 2015.
Limerick players: Gearoid Hegarty, Tom Morrissey, Barry Nash, Sean Finn, Pat Ryan, Ronan Lynch, Kyle Hayes, Lorcan Lyons, Dan Joy, David McCarthy, Mike Casey, Barry Murphy, Kevin O’Brien, Mikey Mackey.
County men: Jason Forde & John McGrath (Tipperary), Tony Kelly, Conor Cleary, David Fitzgerald (Clare),
Management: Davy Fitzgerald
Last year: Lost semi final to Mary Immaculate.
Roll of honour: Winners in 2005 & 2007
Limerick players: Andrew La Touche Cosgrave, Brendan O’Connor, Cian Hedderman, Darren O’Connell, Diarmaid Byrnes, Eoin Quilty, Jack Quaid, Paddy Morrissey, Peter Casey, William O’Meara.
County men: David Reidy, Jason McCarthy, Peter Duggan (Clare), Kieran Bennett (Waterford).
Group A – CIT, UCC, UCD.
Group B – UL, DIT, WIT.
Group C – LIT, DCU, Garda College.
Group D – Mary Immaculate, IT Carlow, NUIG, Trinity College.
Sunday January 21
UL v DIT in UL GAA grounds at 2.30 & IT Carlow v Mary Immaculate in Carlow at 2.00
Monday January 22
LIT v DCU in LIT GAA grounds at 2.00
Thursday January 25
Mary Immaculate v Trinity in MIC GAA grounds at 2.00
Thursday February 1
Mary Immaculate v NUIG in MIC GAA grounds at 2.00; WIT v UL in Waterford at 7.00; Garda College v LIT in Templetuohy at 7.00
UL 9/4, UCC 3/1, Mary Immaculate 11/2, IT Carlow 11/2, LIT 6/1, UCD 16/1, DCU 16/1, NUIG 16/1, CIT 20/1, DIT 25/1, WIT 40/1, Garda 66/1, Trinity 200/1.