It will be only the second time under Kiely’s watch that Limerick will be without the Adare native for a championship clash
The five-in-a-row celebrations delayed the news but if there was to be a negative coming from Limerick’s epic win over Clare in the Munster final, it was that Declan Hannon will miss the All-Ireland semi-final.
Limerick’s opponents will be confirmed this Saturday when Galway meet Tipperary in the TUS Gaelic Grounds but regardless of the opposition, the Shannonsiders will be preparing without the services of their inspirational captain who suffered a knee injury against the Banner.
In that clash, Hannon made history as the first ever captain to lift the Munster title five years running. Alongside Nickie Quaid, Graeme Mulcahy and David Reidy he became one of only four Limerick players to claim six Munster titles.
His presence at the heart of defence will be profoundly missed with the three-time All-Star reinventing the position since being reverted there on John Kiely’s arrival to the senior set up in 2017.
It will be only the second time under Kiely’s watch that Limerick will be without the Adare native for a championship clash with his only previous absence coming against Tipperary in the round robin four years ago.
That was Hannon’s first ever missed championship match since making his debut a few weeks removed from his leaving cert in 2011 and Limerick will have a big call to make in replacing their captain at the heart of defence.
But whoever it is, Hannon is confident in their ability and will resist the urge to give pointers on playing the role as the eir ambassador said speaking at the launch of Poc Tapa challenge.
“I’ll let them off to their own devices, they’re plenty experienced over the years, from training games and even inter county games so I’m sure if I offered advice, they would be telling me where to go quickly enough, they have enough on their plates.
“I have every bit of confidence in them and whoever goes in there will do an absolutely fantastic job.”
Hannon’s absence for the semi-final will mean another change to the defence that has been heavily disputed in each of the past four seasons. In 2020, Limerick lost both Mike Casey and Richie English to knee injuries.
Casey also missed the following season while Cian Lynch’s injury last year saw Kyle Hayes shifted into the forward unit.
Kiely started the championship with virtually a full pick but four time All-Star Sean Finn picked up a season ending injury against Clare in round two with Hannon’s setback coming against the same opposition in their second meeting in the Gaelic Grounds.
The Adare native said he knew immediately that he was in trouble but is taking things one day at a time with previous recoveries from his teammates providing the inspiration.
“I wasn’t overly surprised that I’d be out for a few weeks, you get a sense of these things yourself. But it is what it is, just have to get on with it and rehab for the next couple of weeks, day by day and see how it improves.
“Even in Limerick, there’s been a lot over the years, Sean Finn this year, Ciano last year and also the Casey’s, Barry Murphy, Richie English. We’ve gone through this numerous times so seeing how the boys have bounced back is comforting in itself.”
A leader on the field, Hannon will have to do the same from the sidelines in Croke Park on July 8. The Limerick captain claimed he isn’t the worst spectator but couldn’t say the same for his injured counterpart Finn.
“I’m not too bad, not the worst. Sean (Finn) said to me that he finds it hard to be watching from the sideline but I’m not the worst. Sure what can you do, it’s just the way it is.”
However, the sight of Finn and Hannon in the stands will provide any necessary motivation for Kiely’s side who are aiming to make more history as they stand two games from a four in a row.
A win would also restore Hannon to the equation with the semi-final coming too quickly but another fortnight to the All-Ireland final gives him a chance of taking part.
Hannon’s replacement on July 8 is likely to have a big say in whether he will be afforded that extra recovery time.
eir, Ireland’s largest telecommunications provider, has today launched their new Poc Tapa challenge, as part of their official sponsorship of the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship. The Poc Tapa challenge is inspired by the age-old “Poc Fada” competitions and has been reimagined to reflect the speed of the modern hurling championship. eir ambassador and inter-county star hurler, Declan Hannon, was on hand today in Croke Park to officially launch the competition.
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