Opinion: The Limerick football 85 of the decade just finished - Jerome O'Connell

Jerome O'Connell

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Jerome O'Connell

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Opinion: The Limerick football 85 of the decade just finished - Jerome O'Connell

Dual star: Gearóid Hegarty pictured here lining out for the Limerick footballers in July 2014

THIS decade began with Limerick contesting the 2010 Munster SFC final and all could have dared to dream that the Golden Era of the previous decade was to continue. Alas, 2010 and 2011 were the best that the last 10 years had to offer for Limerick.

With the decade of inter-county football now at a close for Limerick I looked back through the varying Munster and All-Ireland SFC campaigns.

In total 85 different players played senior inter-county championship football for Limerick across the last 10 years – eight more than the hurling equivalent and at that I felt 77 was a high number for the hurling with 2010 a major factor.

So 85 is certainly high with the last two managers John Brudair and Billy Lee experiencing large turnovers of players.

The list of 85 spans 29 different clubs. Fr Caseys lead the way with nine representatives – noteworthy given that the Abbeyfeale men didn’t win or even contest a final of Limerick SFC in the past decade. Elsewhere those well represented are Dromcollogher-Broadford (8), Monaleen (7), Adare (7) and Newcastle West (6).

With 29 clubs represented, it’s just Athea and Claughaun that have played in the top two tiers of the county championship that haven’t had players make the list of 85.

Across the 10 years, just one set of brothers lined out for Limerick in the championship – Stephen and James Kelly.

There are six players that have also played senior inter-county hurling – Conor Fitzgerald, Mark O'Riordan, Stephen Lucey, Gearoid Hegarty, Lorcan O’Dwyer and James Ryan.

Five different players captained Limerick between 2010-19 – Seanie Buckley, Iain Corbett, Barry Fitzpatrick, Ger Collins and Donal O’Sullivan.

It was a decade with four managers – Mickey Ned O’Sullivan, Maurice Horan, John Brudair and Billy Lee with all bar Mickey Ned O’Sullivan serving three years this decade.

The Limerick panel that reached the 2010 Munster SFC final was a largely settled outfit. A total of 22 players featured in that championship.

That leaves 63 other players to play championship across nine years – the three John Brudair years introduced 25 new faces with Maurice Horan (20) and Billy Lee (18).

The year of 2013 was the only year without significant change – Donal O’Sullivan the only player to make his championship debut, whereas the other years ranged from five to 11.

Aside from the 2010 provincial final appearance and the 2011 run to the All-Ireland SFC quarter final against Kerry in Croke Park, it’s been a decade without many championship highs. The entire decade was played in the bottom two tiers of the Allianz League with Division Four title wins in Croke Park in 2010 and ‘13. 

LIST: Padraig Browne, Eoin Joy, Michael Sheehan, John Riordan, Derry O’Connor, Robert Browne, Daniel Daly, David Ward, Adrian Enright (all Fr Caseys); Seanie Buckley, Tommy Stack, Micheal Reidy, Micheal Brosnan, Killian Phair, Garrett Noonan, Eoin Barry, Cillian Fahy (all Dromcollogher-Broadford); Ger Collins, Barry Fitzpatrick, Paul Kinnerk, Donal O’Sullivan, Colm Moran, Graham O’Connell, Padraig Quinn (all Monaleen); Stephen Lavin, Conor Fitzgerald, Hugh Bourke, David Connolly, Paul Maher, Davey Lyons, Stephen Keeley (all Adare); Stephen Kelly, James Kelly, Cian Sheehan, Jamie Lee, Iain Corbett, Paul Hannan (all Newcastle West); Johnny McCarthy, Jim O’Donovan, Darragh Treacy, Sean McSweeney (all St Kierans); Andrew Lane, Ian Ryan, Conor Mullane, James Naughton (all St Senans); Pa Ranahan, Shane Gallagher, Danny Neville, James O’Meara (all Ballysteen); Mark O’Riordan, Stephen Lucey, John Galvin (all Croom); Eoghan O’Connor, Damien Quaid, Paul White (all Rathkeale); John Mullane, Eoin Hanrahan, Gearoid Hegarty (all St Patricks); Eoin Hogan, Gordan Browne, Ronan Lynch (all Na Piarsaigh); Jim Liston, Colm McSweeney, Tommy Griffin (Gerald Griffins); John Cooke and Bobby O’Brien (both Bruff); Lorcan O’Dwyer and Brian Fanning (both Pallasgreen); Peter Nash and Tony McCarthy (both Kildimo-Pallaskenry); Kevin Moore and Padraig Scanlon (both Glin); Killian Ryan and Patrick Begley (both Mungret); Brian Scanlon (Gerald Griffins), James Ryan (Galbally), Seamus O’Carroll (Cappagh), Tom Lee (Ballylanders), Michael McCormack (Crecora), Sean O’Dea (Kilteely-Dromkeen), Stephen Cahill (Mountcollins), Tommie Childs (Galtee Gaels), Josh Ryan (Oola), Michael Fitzgibbon (Castlemahon), Padraig de Brun (Firies, Co Kerry).