We look at the strength in depth of John Kiely’s squad and potential outsiders ahead of their League opener this weekend.
John Kiely’s Limerick hurlers are on the road this weekend as they travel to Wexford in the first round of the National Hurling League.
Silverware has already been collected in 2022 as Limerick strolled to Munster Hurling Cup success with limited fuss.
That was without the majority of last year’s All-Ireland winning XV as Kiely demonstrated the strength in depth at their disposal.
Limerick’s squad is star studded with no fewer than 17 All-Stars to choose from as well as a number of underage starlets.
Ahead of this weekend’s League game with Wexford we continue our look at that depth, with the half forward line.
What more can be said of Limerick’s stellar half forward line of Cian Lynch, Gearoid Hegarty and Tom Morrissey. Between them as a collective they have won nine All-Ireland titles, nine Munster championships, three Hurler of the Year awards, five U21 All-Ireland titles, four Fitzgibbon Cups, seven All-Stars and so many more underage championships.
Cian Lynch is the best hurler in the country but beside him, the workrate and skill of Hegarty and Morrissey are arguably the key components of this Limerick team.
Back-to-back All-Star line, one of the greatest trios of all time.
There are few, if any, players that are more unlucky not to be starting for the Limerick juggernaut than David Reidy. The Dromin Athlacca always delivered when given the opportunity but has the misfortune of competing with the aforementioned trio. Nonetheless, with Reidy almost always the first man called on from the replacements in, standards never drop outlining his talent. With Peter Casey out for the year, Reidy may be relocated to the corner to finally give him a deserved starting berth.
Last year in his debut season at the grade, Cathal O’Neill was primarily used in the corner, but the Crecora Manister seems like a ready made fit for the half forward line with his build and striking ability. A two-time minor All-Star, 2022 could be a huge year for the youngster.
Michéal Houlihan was one of Kilmallock’s standout players in 2021, helping his side to county honours and the Munster final. A scoring machine, Houlihan was tipped to be called into the senior panel but hasn’t featured as of yet. His teammate Oisin O’Reilly is back among the fold but despite playing at 11 for club, looks set to fight it out for a corner forward spot.
Likewise, Adam English starred for Doon in his maiden year out of the minor grade but was introduced in the full forward line in both Munster Hurling Cup games.
Conor Boylan has been a member of the panel since 2019 and has made a number of championship appearances from the bench, including in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final. Has the workrate, physical presence and ability to fill in at either wing forward spot.
David Dempsey has been Na Piarsaigh’s most consistent player over the last decade but things have not worked out for him with Limerick at a senior level, often falling injured at the worst times. Likewise, Jack Quaid has been superb for Effin but hasn’t broke into the senior squad as of yet.
Caherline’s Andrew Brennan represented Limerick twelve years ago and while his intercounty career is in the past, his performances for his club must be recognised.
And, Aaron Gillane starred for Kiely on the wing en route to winning U21 Hurler of the Year in Limerick’s All-Ireland winning season of 2017 if the Galbally native were to change it up.