Limerick welcome Clare to the Gaelic Grounds in an Allianz Hurling League derby
By Seán Finnan
The second weekend of Division One of the Allianz Hurling League includes an early showing of the Shannonside spectacle at the Gaelic Grounds as Limerick welcome Clare on Saturday.
The last showing between the Munster neighbours in the Munster Senior Final last year saw a Lynch-less Limerick ride the storm of a Man of the Match performance from Tony Kelly, who hit 0-13 points, to overcome their rivals.
The fortunes for both Munster teams in the debut game of the Allianz National Hurling League were in stark contrast.
Limerick travelled to fellow Munster rival, Cork, who turned an 11-point defeat against Limerick in their last meeting in April, to a razor-thin victory over the All-Ireland champions last Saturday.
The winning point from Shane Kingston came just moments from time in the 80-minute game.
While John Kiely’s side tasted bitter defeat, Brian Lohan racked up his biggest win as Clare manager over Westmeath.
The Banner thrashed the Leinster side with 10 points from the reliable Aiden McCarthy and two goals from Mark Rodgers as they stormed to a 4-27 to 0-14 victory over West Meath, setting a marker for the League.
Limerick will be bolstered this weekend as the hole left in Cian Lynch’s absence is finally mended, with his inclusion in the starting lineup against Clare as captain.
This derby is Lynch’s first start for Limerick since he picked up his injury in April of last year against Waterford.
Limerick will also welcome the return of All-star Corner Forward, Peter Casey, in his first start for Limerick since the side’s resounding victory against Cork in the 2021 All-Ireland Final.
Limerick: Nickie Quaid (Effin); Sean Finn (Bruff), Richie English (Doon), Fergal O’Connor (Effin), Colin Coughlan (Ballybrown), Dan Morrissey (Ahane), Kyle Hayes (Kildimo-Pallaskenry); Darragh O’Donovan (Doon), David Reidy (Dromin-Athlacca); Gearoid Hegarty (St. Patrick’s), Cian Lynch (Patrickswell), Micheál Houlihan (Kilmallock); Shane O’Brien (Kilmallock), Seamus Flanagan (Feoghanagh-Castlemahon), Peter Casey (Na Piarsaigh).
Subs: David McCarthy (Glenore), Ciaran Barry (Ahane), Ronan Connolly (Adare), Aaron Costello (Kilmallock), Adam English (Doon), Tom Morrissey (Ahane), Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock), Aidan O’Connor (Ballybrown), Donnacha Ó Dálaigh (Monaleen), Oisin O’Reilly (Kilmallock), Jimmy Quilty (Blackrock).
Clare have yet to name their side.
Coverage of the Munster derby begins on RTE 2 at 6:30 pm this Saturday.