Pa Ranahan: Recent success gives long term hope for Limerick football

Gaelic Football in Limerick certainly had a decent week and Mick Neville Park in Rathkeale hosted its fair share of it. Big wins for the U-20s and the seniors has continued the positive press that Gaelic Football has received both inside and outside the county.

And almost unnoticed, the county grounds also provided the backdrop for some of the U-13 Development Panel as well as the U-14 County Academy trials. With LIT, Bruff and South Liberties also acting as hubs around the county, almost 300 footballers from U-13 to U-17 were put through their paces, possibly dreaming of celebrating a Munster Championship win or a League Final in Croke Park. They wouldn’t be the only ones!

On Wednesday evening in really tough conditions, the U-20 side dug out a heart-warming win in the Munster Championship against Tipperary. The scheduling of this Championship has brought a lot of justified criticism.

It has proven almost impossible for teams to get any sustained period of training, but I suppose all are in the same situation there. What Wednesday’s game showed though is that the interest and appetite to compete is definitely there for young Limerick footballers.

McGrath Cup Final, LIT Gaelic Grounds, Co. Limerick 11/1/2020 Cork vs Limerick Limerick players prepare for the second half Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ken Sutton

On a night when 13 players who featured have another year at the grade (another nine on the panel), it was perhaps the “experienced” players who led the way. None more so than captain Adam Shanagher.

Playing in his hometown he drove forward at every opportunity and was ably supported by his half backs Liam Kennedy and his clubmate Barry Coleman, who showed his talent by landing the winning score at the death.

It wasn’t one for the purists but the scenes afterwards showed what it meant to the group, who have a lot of promise in the years ahead. Kerry in the semi final will prove a huge test, but it’s a brilliant game to get at this stage of the players development.

They say a rising tide lifts all boats. Well that rising tide at the minute is being provided by the senior football panel. A crucial “4 pointer” last Sunday versus Wicklow saw a Limerick blitzkrieg in the first quarter set Billy Lee’s men on their way to a 4th win from four in the league.

Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final, Semple Stadium, Co. Tipperary 11/5/2019 Tipperary vs Limerick Limerick’s Tommie Childs Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

I said recently how they had been very slow out of the blocks in the games to date. Well that was firmly put to bed at the weekend. The purpliest of purple patches in the opening 20 minutes saw three goals and a 12 point lead built up.

It was liquid football at times with three of the goals coming from defenders and all of the 5-10 coming from play. It had all the signs of a team who were trying to win, as opposed to trying not to lose. The pace with which Limerick moved the ball from back to front was very impressive, in particular from Brian Fanning who is performing superbly so far in the full back position.

To be fair there were willing runners all over the field and at times it was like the Limerick version of the Mighty Ducks Flying V! It was a pleasure to watch in full flow. And yet, and not wanting to play down the performance, which was awesome at times, there is more in this group.

Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final, Semple Stadium, Co. Tipperary 11/5/2019 Tipperary vs Limerick Limerick’s Brian Fanning Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

There were two long periods during the game where the scores dried up, and an insistence on going for the jugular every time left some easy scores off the board. It’s nit picking after such a comfortable victory, but it’s something I’m sure the management will make the players aware of in the post match analysis. Especially with the bigger games and more stubborn defences ahead.

Limerick are in a fantastic position now and results elsewhere have helped. But they still need to possibly pick up two more wins, in a league where every point is hard earned. I remember in 2010 when Clare won six from six, but missed out on promotion on the last day.

It’s the classic one game at a time, and a long trip to Antrim at the weekend will be another huge test, but this group have cleared every hurdle put in front of them to date and will travel north in good spirits. These are exciting times indeed for Limerick football at all levels.

Social Sharing

Posted in

Limerick GAA confirm fixture details for upcoming hurling championship knockout games

Limerick GAA have confirmed dates, times and venues for the upcoming knockout stages of the hurling championships. The ...
Read More

Claughaun GAA suspend operations after positive Covid-19 test

Limerick GAA club Claughaun have suspended all operations after a positive Covid-19 test within the club. The club ...
Read More

BREAKING: Quarter Finals set for Limerick SHC

Yesterday the group stages of the Limerick SHC came to a conclusion with six teams still in with ...
Read More

Round 3 Talking Points: Gillane, Kilmallock and Ballybrown pace setters & more

The weekend just gone delivered Round 3 of the Limerick SHC, PIHC, IHC & JAHC with the group ...
Read More

REVIEW: SHC, PIHC, IHC & JAHC Round 3 Round-Up

Bon Secours Limerick SHC There was a double header in Section A of the championship on Saturday evening. ...
Read More

Ballybrown vs Garryspillane Preview: Hear from both camps ahead of tonight’s clash

Listen to the thoughts of Ballybrown manager Evan Loftus and Garryspillane selector James O'Keeffe ahead of tonight's clash. ...
Read More

Treaty Talk EP107: SHC, PIHC and IHC Final round Preview

In this week's podcast, John Keogh takes the place of Matt O'Callaghan as he and Jack Neville discuss ...
Read More

PREVIEW: SHC, PIHC & IHC Final Round preview

The Limerick SHC and PIHC group stages reach their conclusions this weekend with the third round in as ...
Read More