Morrissey, Hayes or even Nickie Quaid? Who Replaces Declan Hannon

Limerick will be without their captain for the first time in four years but Kiely’s side have plenty of different options to fill the gap.

On Sunday evening Limerick’s worst fears were confirmed with the news that Declan Hannon will miss the All-Ireland semi-final through injury.

The four time All-Ireland winning captain will not take to the field for the first time since 2019 and only the second time since his debut twelve years ago.

His void will be noticeable in Croke Park as John Kiely will have to do without arguably his key man in the Limerick juggernaut.

However, there are many options that Limerick can pluck for as we look through six below ranging from most likely to nuclear options.

Option 1 | Kyle Moves In, Coughlan Starts

The first option is to revert to what Limerick did in the Munster final when Hannon limped off. Kyle Hayes moved off the wing and into the centre in his absence. Into the line up came Colin Coughlan for his second successive championship appearance, third overall.


  • Hayes was an All-Star centre back for the U21s in their All-Ireland win.
  • The KP man has played there for his club before and looks the natural long term replacement for Hannon.
  • Coughlan was at wing back for the U20s in their run to the All-Ireland final last year.
  • Only one switch needed.


  • Losing Hayes’ running power on the wing.
  • Coughlan has yet to start a championship game at this level.

Option 2 | Dan Moves Up, Richie Comes in


  • Morrissey has played at #6 in Hannon’s absence in big games before, including the League final this year and the 2019 All-Ireland semi-final.
  • English is an All-Star calibre corner back.
  • Two switches needed but they are marginal with Morrissey as comfortable at #6 as he is at full or wing back.


  • Losing the impact of Richie English off the bench in the corner. Next in line, Aaron Costello would be making championship debut if called upon.
  • More change to the full back line that has already lost Sean Finn to injury this year.

Option 3 | Gearoid Hegarty moves to club position

With Hannon;’s injury taking another player from the defence that has lost Sean Finn, this would see Gearoid Hegarty moving back to the position he has often operated in for his club St Patricks. Cathal O’Neill would be the obvious choice to start in the forward line as he did against Clare, Tipperary and Cork.


  • Less disruption the other defenders in the system with the remaining five in the position they started in against Clare in the Munster Final.
  • Hegarty has all the attributes to play the position with O’Neill a ready made replacement at the other end. He has played their for his club and also for UL in the Fitzgibbon Cup.
  • The St Patricks man has failed to find his form at wing forward and the move could reinvigorate him.
  • Hegarty featured in the line alongside Byrnes in the 2015 All-Ireland U21 final, although he was playing at wing back.
  • The 2020 Hurler of the Year is another imposing figure that would compliment Byrnes and Hayes either side of him.


  • Hegarty hasn’t played in defence in a senior inter county game before.
  • His presence in the half forward line would be a big miss. While O’Neill has shown his ability at wing forward, they are different players.

Option 4 | O’Donovan Drops Back to Doon Position, Cian Reverts Back

This option would see Darragh O’Donovan shift to centre-back, where he has operated for Doon at times in recent years with Cian Lynch reinstated to midfield where he was an All-Star in 2019.


  • Outside of Hannon, O’Donvan is arguably the best distributor of the ball in the entire set up.
  • Lynch has plenty of experience at midfield, partnering O’Donoghue throughout 2019 following a Hurler of the Year season there the previous campaign.
  • O’Donovan has often been stationed at centre-back for his club Doon, particularly during the 2021 campaign as they reached the semi-finals before being beaten by eventual champions Kilmallock.


  • O’Donovan, like Hegarty, hasn’t played in defence for the county.
  • Lynch’s fitness is still a question and it would be a big ask to go straight into midfield.
  • It would be a risk to upset the midfield pairing of O’Donoghue and O’Donovan who have lost just one game when paired together, that round robin defeat to Clare earlier this year.

Option 5 | Barry Nash moves up the field

In this option, Barry Nash would move into centre-back with Richie English replacing the South Liberties man in the corner.


  • Little movement involved, English in from the start with Nash shifting slightly forward and into the middle.
  • Would give Nash more of a free role where he has been known to excel. Less emphasis on man marking and more on game management.
  • Nash would be considered one of the most intelligent players in the squad, almost single handily changing the corner back position.
  • The South Liberties man has already shown how versatile he can be, moving from corner forward to corner back in a matter of years.


  • Nash has become the master of the roaming corner back position with English more of an orthodox defender.
  • Again it would mean a championship debut would probably need to be introduced heading into the latter stages of the game with bodies tiring.

Option 6 (Nuclear) | Nickie Quaid Unleashed

By far and away the most unlikely situation but no doubting that Nickie Quaid has the capabilities to play at centre-back, where he does so effectively for his club.


  • Quaid is one of the best centre-backs in the club championship every year.


  • Moving Quaid would rob Limerick of the best goalkeeper in the country and the stability that it provides.
  • Quaid hasn’t featured outfield for his county since his debut year in 2010 before moving between the sticks the following year.
  • David McCarthy would have to make his debut in an All-Ireland semi-final.

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