Opinion: Limerick's 77 championship hurlers this decade - Jerome O'Connell

Opinion: Limerick's 77 championship hurlers this decade - Jerome O'Connell

WITH the decade nearing an end a look back through the statistics turns up a total of 77 hurlers that played senior inter-county championship hurling for Limerick across the last 10 years.

Just three players – Nickie Quaid, Graeme Mulcahy and Paul Browne – span the decade as part of the 2010 Justin McCarthy panel and part of the 2019 John Kiely panel.

The number of 77 hurlers is probably higher than most decades due to ‘2010’. With the services of many unavailable that year, the Justin McCarthy led management used 24 players in the championship defeats to Cork and Offaly with less than 10 featuring again for Limerick in the following years.

Aside from 2010, there are almost two distinct panels across the decade – 2011-2015 and 2016-2019.

A new-look panel was set in motion in 2011 with additions in 2012 and those years laid the foundations for the 2013 Munster SHC title and back-to-back All-Ireland SHC semi finals in 2013 and ‘14. Indeed in the years 2013 and 2014 just one player made their championship debut in each year with the panel very much settled.

Manager TJ Ryan started to ‘freshen’ up the panel in 2015 and 2016 with 13 new faces and John Kiely continued that in 2017 with seven players getting their championship debut.

Like the silverware winning year of 2013, Limerick had a settled look in the 2018 All-Ireland success with just three newcomers and this year the Munster SHC title saw just another two championship debuts.

Across the list of 77 players, a total of 28 clubs are represented with Na Piarsaigh leading the way with 12 different players – double that of Kilmallock and Doon.

Knockainey, Cappamore and Mungret are the three clubs riding highest in the Limerick club scene that haven’t had any player get Munster or All-Ireland SHC match time between 2010-19.

A look through the list reveals nine sets of brothers (Breen, Dempsey, Casey, O’Brien, Morrissey, Tobin, Hayes, Ryan and Quaid).

There are also six players that have also played senior championship football for Limerick – Mark O’Riordan, Stephen Lucey, James Ryan, Lorcan O’Dwyer, Stephen Walsh and Gearoid Hegarty. But 2011 was the last time Limerick had a dual player come championship time.

It was a decade with five different managers – Justin McCarthy, Donal O’Grady, John Allen, TJ Ryan and John Kiely. A decade with seven different captains – Bryan O’Sullivan, Gavin O’Mahony, David Breen, Donal O’Grady, Nickie Quaid, James Ryan and Declan Hannon. 

And most importantly, it was a decade with one All-Ireland SHC, two Munster SHC titles, one Division One Allianz League title, one Division Two League title and two Munster Leagues. Not bad for a 10 year period where Limerick spent eight years in the second tier of the Allianz League.

LIST: David Breen, James O’Brien, Kevin Downes, Shane Dowling, Cathall King, Adrian Breen, Alan Dempsey, Mike Casey, David Dempsey, Peter Casey, William O’Donoghue, Conor Boylan (all Na Piarsaigh), Bryan O’Sullivan, Graeme Mulcahy, Gavin O’Mahony, Paudie O’Brien, Barry Hennessy, Paddy O’Loughlin (all Kilmallock), Denis Moloney, Micheal Ryan, Richie English, Darragh O’Donovan, Pat Ryan, Barry Murphy (all Doon), Thomas O’Brien, Seanie O’Brien, Cian Lynch, Diarmaid Byrnes, Aaron Gillane (all Patrickswell), Tadgh Flynn, Niall Moran, Dan Morrissey, Tom Morrissey (all Ahane), Michael Noonan, Wayne McNamara, Declan Hannon, John Fitzgibbon (all Adare), Shane O’Neill, Anthony Owens, Tom Ryan, Barry Nash (all South Liberties), Paudie McNamara, Seamus Hickey, Seanie Tobin, Pat Tobin (all Murroe-Boher), Richie McKeogh, Cian Hayes, Kyle Hayes (all Kildimo-Pallaskenry), Mark O’Riordan, Stephen Lucey, Conor Allis (all Croom), Kieran O’Rourke, Shaun Riordan, James O’Brien (all Bruree), Paul Browne and Sean Finn (both Bruff), Sean Herlihy and Daniel Moore (Monagea), Peter Russell and Brian Geary (both Monaleen), James Ryan and Donie Ryan (both Garryspillane), Damien Reale and Aaron Murphy (both Hospital-Herbertstown), Nickie Quaid and Tommy Quaid (both Effin), Andrew Brennan (Caherline), Lorcan O’Dwyer (Pallasgreen), Cathal Mullane (Killeedy), Alan O’Connor (Ballybrown), Tom Condon (Knockaderry), Donal O’Grady (Granagh-Ballingarry), Richie McCarthy (Blackrock), Stephen Walsh (Glenroe), David Reidy (Dromin-Athlacca), Gearoid Hegarty (St Patricks), Seamus Flanagan (Feohanagh-Castlemahon).

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