Limerick seek first League Final since 2006

Limerick look to avenge the loss suffered at the hands of Galway in the final round of Division 1b when they host the Tribesmen this Sunday in the Gaelic Grounds in the Semi Final of the Allianz Hurling League.

The last time Limerick reached the League final was 11 years ago where they were defeated by Kilkenny. Since then Limerick have won a Division 2 title in 2011, losing the Division 1b decider in 2012 and 2013.

Limerick’s victory over Cork in the quarter final stage has given the hurlers a timely boost after yet another disappointing 1b performance. Limerick showcased all that is good about their hurling with workrate matched by skill.

Little over a month ago Limerick were beaten 0-24 to 1-18 by this weekends opponents in the final round of 1b in the Gaelic Grounds. John Kiely has outlined that this game is not about revenge, as Limerick are solely focused on reaching the League decider.

“No, not at all, it’s a seperate game, its knockout hurling, there’s a different feel to it”

Kiely is aware of the strengths of the opponents and is prepared for a tough battle come Sunday at the Gaelic Grounds.

“We can’t get ahead of ourselves, Galway are a strong team in more ways than one. They have a physical strength and a great hurling ability. They have a lot of experience too in big matches.”

“They have already beaten us, and they beat Waterford. They will have been disappointed with the loss to Wexford but they accounted for the rest of 1B fairly comfortably.”

The Galbally native named his team on Friday with no changes from the quarter final victory over Cork. Indeed Kiely seems have to settled on this XV with back 6 practically picking themselves these days.

A Na Piarsaigh duo of Dempsey and O Donoghue have performed well in midfield thus far in the league and will be looking to continue in this vein against the highly impressive David Burke.

Up front the return of Shane Dowling has seemed to energise those around him. He is partnered in the half forward line by Cian Lynch and quarter final man of the match Gearoid Hegarty.

John Kiely has certainly named arguably Limerick’s strongest possible side showing how seriously he is taking this game.

Throw recent comments from ex Galway hurler Damien Hayes into the mix and you have an intriguing tie to look forward to

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, former Galway star Hayes is in no doubt who he thinks will be victorious on Sunday.

“I’d feel Galway are way better than Limerick. I’d feel Galway have a way better squad and a better-settled team,” the three-time All-Star recipient insisted.

“I will be shocked if Galway don’t make a league final and I will be shocked if they don’t beat Limerick. I think Galway are way ahead of Limerick.”

Should Limerick come away with the win, which is well wishin their capabilities, they will be rewarded with a final berth against either Wexford or reigning All Ireland Champions Tipperary.

Limerick team to face Galway;

1. Nickie Quiad (Effin), 2. Richie English (Doon), 3. Richie McCarthy (Blackrock), 4. Mike Casey (Na Piarsaigh), 5. Diarmaid Byrnes (Patrickswell)(Captain), 6. Declan Hannon (Adare), 7. Seamus Hickey (Murroe/Boher), 8. Alan Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh), 9. William O Donoghue (Na Piarsaigh), 10. Shane Dowling (Na Piarsaigh), 11. David Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh), 12. Gearoid Hegarty (St Patrick’s), 13. Cian Lynch (Patrickswell), 14. Kyle Hayes (Kildimo/Pallaskenry), 15. Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock).

16. Barry Hennessy (Kilmallock), 17. Stephen Cahill (Tournafulla), 18. Sean Finn (Bruff), 19. Gavin O Mahony (Kilmallock), 20. James Ryan (Garryspillane) 21. John Fitzgibbon (Adare), 22. Tom Morrissey (Ahane), 23. Barry Nash (South Liberties), 24. Ronan Lynch (Na Piarsaigh). 25. Sean Tobin (Murroe/Boher), 26. Colin Ryan (Pallasgreen).


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