“We’re going to be underdogs” | Mark Fitzgerald hoping to upset the odds when Limerick welcome Clare in Munster semi-final

In his two games as manager, Limerick have fallen to Kildare and Clare, but the Kerry man says the team is in a good place ahead of Saturday’s championship clash.

It will be a battle of Division 2’s relegated sides this Saturday evening in the TUS Gaelic Grounds as Limerick and Clare meet with a place in the Munster final on offer.

Clare’s, somewhat, shock win over Cork sets up a rematch of last year’s quarter-final where the Treaty men picked up the win in the first-ever Senior Football Championship penalty shoot out.

It was also their first win over the Banner in the championship since 2009 as they also ended a 12-year wait for a Munster final berth.

But things haven’t gone to plan this year so far for Limerick after they were relegated back to Division 3 at the first attempt. Clare joined them in that regard, their seven-year stint in the second tier coming to an end. However, the Banner picked up a pair of wins in the campaign, including a comprehensive one against Limerick, and were very unlucky against Kildare and Dublin.

Those victories and the manner of their win over Cork has Limerick manager Mark Fitzgerald under no illusions of the challenge at hand.

“We’re going to be underdogs, there’s no point in sugar coating it. But it’s one game, lets see what we can get out of it. If we play well then hopefully we can get a good performance and see where it takes you. Anyhing other than that you worry about after it unfolds.

19 March 2023; Limerick manager Mark Fitzgerald during the Allianz Football League Division 2 match between Limerick and Kildare at TUS Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Tyler Miller/Sportsfile

Fitzgerald came into the set up as part of Ray Dempsey’s coaching ticket to replace Billy Lee after six years in charge. However, things quickly turned sour and four successive defeats to start the league saw the Mayo native depart the set up, with Fitzgerald taking over the reins.

In his two games as manager, Limerick have fallen to Kildare and Clare, but the Kerry man says the team is in a good place ahead of Saturday’s championship opener.

“It’s been okay, the players have been very good to be fair. Some of the management team has stayed on so there’s a good bit of continuity there. It’s been so busy we didn’t really have time to think about it, only trying to get results that didn’t go our way. But we seem to be in a good place now, looking forward to the championship and whatever that brings.”

Fitzgerald had to do without joint-captain Iain Corbett for his first pair of games in charge after he limped off in the round five draw with Meath.

Corbett had to watch on as Limerick’s relegation was confirmed with a game to spare but despite the heavy loss to Clare, Fitzgerald was happy to allow some players rest as they look set to have a full hand to choose from this Saturday.

“It’s looking good for him (Corbett), rehab is going well. The fact that the last round was effectively a dead rubber allowed us to rest a few guys. I think the rest did some of the lads well and it’s shaping up that touch wood, we’re injury free.”

And judging by Clare’s performances and not solely their results, Limerick will need all hands on deck to replicate the win from last season.

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