Opinion: Limerick footballers must look to youth to progress

Last Saturday evening Limerick footballers’ 2017 championship was ended prematurely after an underwhelming defeat at the hands of Wexford in the Gaelic Grounds.

In truth, Limerick never played anywhere near their best, ponderous with the ball and kicking numerous wides throughout the 70.

A season that promised so much after taking Kerry to ET in theMcGrath Cup final and harboured genuine promotion hopes in the league ends with a whimper as Limerick will be resigned to another year in Division 4 and out of the championship before July.

Speaking to Sporting Limerick, the Weekly Observer’s main sports writer, Matt O’Callaghan reflected on a dull day for Limerick football.

“It was a most disappointing game. It was the 11th minute before either side scored in the first half. It was the 7th minutes before either side scored in the second half.”

O’Callaghan feels that Limerick did enough on the day to warrant a win against a highly defensive Wexford side. In the end the sheer volume of wides cost Billy Lee’s side.

“Limerick kicked 12 wides over the hour which proved very costly including four frees. We went on level at the break when possibly we should have been in front.”

However, hope is not lost for Limerick as some young players have stepped up this year. Iain Corbett, Seamus O’Carroll, Sean O’Dea, Darragh Treacy and Danny Neville are all experienced enough to lead this team into the future. Johnny McCarthy was exceptional on Saturday but he won’t be around forever and someone will need to lead when he calls time on his inter county career.

Furthermore, the performances of Paul White, Brian Fanning, James Naughton and Josh Ryan, who is in his first year out of minor bode well for Limerick. Ryan in particular was arguably Limerick’s standout player in the Gaelic Grounds and was unlucky not to put Limerick into the lead late on as his goal bound shot was well stopped.

Added to this the number of young players who are in America and injured. Cian Sheehan, Cillian Fahy and Brian O’Donovan are all out of the country. If Limerick could put a few performances together however, these young men may be enticed to stay and fight for the Limerick cause.

One thing is for sure, if Limerick continue to develop quality young players, there will be brighter days shared. A continuation of how the finished the 2017 league campaign would be most welcome and would give Billy Lee’s men a genuine shot at getting out to of the bottom tier.

Billy Lee will have plenty of positives to take into next year.

You can see highlights of the weekend’s football action below. Video credit: @GaaOfficial

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