Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Southern rivals are ready for battle

As the Limerick hurling fraternity gears up for this weekend's county senior hurling final between Kilmallock and Emmets Jerome O'Connell spoke to the respective captains, Gavin O'Mahony and Brian Moloney. Sunday's county final takes place in the Gaelic Grounds at 3.30pm.



Kilmallock captain Gavin O’Mahony is the proud holder of four minor hurling championships, one minor football championship and four county under-21 crowns. But the centre-back would gladly swap all those underage medals for just one county senior championship success.
That is in no way a slight on the years of hard work that earned the Balbec all their underage success, but more it is evidence of the massive hunger that exists in the south Limerick town.
For most followers of those in green and white the wait since 1994 is far too long for the return of the Daly Cup to the town. There were final appearances in 1999 and 2005, but despite a conveyor belt of underage talent senior glory has eluded them.
“The pressure to win a senior is unreal,” commented Kilmallock captain Gavin O’Mahony who has already captained Kilmallock to minor and under-21 county titles.
“I would in a heart-beat,” he said when asked if he would swap his underage medals for senior success.
“We know how tough it is to win the senior. The gap of over 15 years is too much,” he remarked.
“Maybe we were missing from players as a transition from the last successful side to this group. There are a couple of lads still playing, but they are not on the starting team,” said O’Mahony.
“We are still such a young team with the spine of the team mostly under-23, but you always need a core of experienced players. Underage and senior success don’t go hand-in-hand.”
He explained: “Growing up we were all used to winning and then when you don’t it’s about how you handle it. If we won in 2005 it would have broken down a lot of barriers”.
That 2005 defeat to south rivals Garryspillane brought an end to the career of many older players like Mike Houlihan, but it didn’t do anything to lessen the pressure.
“Pressure and expectation are good,” says O’Mahony.
“Expectation keeps you training because you know that there are standards you have to keep. Hurling is huge around Kilmallock. Hurling is always number one.”
Just like their last appearance on county final day, Sunday is another local derby.
“I would have hurled with a lot of them (Emmets). There are ten or 11 of them that I would have played with - they have all played senior or intermediate with Limerick,” he said.
Indeed Effin duo Damien Moloney and Tommy Quaid were club team-mates of O’Mahony’s in 2004 when Kilmallock won the minor title.
“It’s all so local - the banter, I suppose is more for the supporters,” remarked the Kilmallock captain.
The “banter” is a mere sideshow that will matter little if O’Mahony doesn’t return the county title to Kilmallock on Sunday evening.
After a series of changes in recent seasons former Clare senior hurling manager Tony Considine was entrusted with the task of donning the bainesteoir bid this season.
“When someone like that says something you are going to listen,” said O’Mahony of Tony Considine.
“The experience and confidence that he has is great and we all know what he has achieved at club and inter-county level.
“He has great confidence in all our players to just tell them to go out and hurl and if things go wrong you are letting no one down.”
The captain feels that all in the Kilmallock camp could be coming of age.
“Fellas are getting older and stronger and maybe they are now playing in their more natural positions. The talent is there, but the aim is to keep them altogether.”

Brian Moloney
What a year it has been for Brian Moloney. Just 12 months ago Moloney and his Blackrock colleagues were preparing for an assault on the county junior A hurling championship after their replay win over Effin in the south final. The Kilfinane and Ardpatrick men progressed all the way to Croke Park last February and as a result of that All-Ireland success Moloney was selected as captain of the Emmets divisional team. On Sunday he leads out the men from the south division and the opportunity is not lost on the stylish wing back.
“It has been an unbelievable year so far to have come this far to the county final,” he told Leader Sport.
“There is only a chance for two teams to win a county senior medal this year, so we have got to be happy with that. We know that this might be our one big chance to win it. We will loose one club at the end of this season so this might be our best chance,” he explained in reference to the guarantee that there will be south winner of the county intermediate final.
“This could be our one chance so we have nothing to lose.”
Like his manager Brian Moloney can see the positives of divisional teams playing in the county senior championship. In 2009 Moloney and his Blackrock colleagues, Dave Moloney and Richie McCarthy, were making the step up from the junior ranks to senior hurling when they donned the blue and gold of Emmets.
“There are a lot of pros and cons to the Emmets team, but it gives junior and intermediate players a platform to show what they can do and that can only be good for Limerick hurling. You can see when the players go back to their own clubs that the higher standard has helped them to progress. The experience of playing at the higher standard has been great for me personally and I suppose the biggest thing has been the speed of the game,” explained Moloney.
“It’s a big step up, but the Emmets teams has really helped us,” he said in reference to Blackrock’s promotion.
“It’s a great honour for me to be captain,” said Moloney.
“When you look at this team everyone of the players are leaders within their own clubs. We really have 30 captains and in games when it might be in the balance you never have to look too far for someone that will grab the game by the scruff of the neck. With the exception of three of four players the majority of the team would be under 25 years of age.”
The captain said that the motivation behind their 2010 campaign was a disappointing semi-final loss to Na Piarsaigh last season.
“We were all very disgusted with the way we played. Since the start of the year Jimmy and Darren have been telling us that the goal was to get back to the semi-final and get to the final.”
There will be no surprise for either side on Sunday and Moloney sees that as an advantage for both sides.
When the sides met in the group stages in lat May, Kilmallock were 2-12 to 1-12 winners.
“For Kilmallock it is a positive because they know that they can beat us. There was not that much intensity because it was not a knockout game but on Sunday it should be played at a higher grade,” said Moloney.
“Both sets of players know each other very well - there is certainly a rivalry between both teams and there would be a lot of friends involved in both sides but that will be left to one side for an hour on Sunday and then we will be friends again after.”
When Moloney and club colleagues collected the county title last autumn they wore blue and gold against Effin, the Emmets captain will be hoping that could be an omen for Sunday.

Jerome O’Connell

Lee could face a mouth-watering contest against John Duddy

LIMERICK pro-boxer Andy Lee could face a mouth-watering contest against fellow Irish middleweight John Duddy on December 4 in New York’s Madison Square Garden.
But before any contracts are signed for a clash between the Castleconnell man and the Derry native Lee must win his latest fight this weekend.


This Friday, October 2 the Limerick southpaw will headline a boxing event promoted by Hitz Boxing at the lavish ‘Venue’ in the Horseshoe Casino in Indiana.
The opponent for the scheduled ten-round fight will be veteran fighter Troy Lowry from Saint Paul, Minnesota. This fight comes just two weeks after Lee maintained his push for a world title bout by defeating Michael Walker at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago.
The former St. Francis Boxing Club Olympian stopped the hometown fighter after two minutes and three seconds of the eighth round.
Ahead of his 25th pro-fight Lee has previously learned not to look beyond any opponent, but the prospect of a clash with Duddy would make headlines on both sides of the Atlantic.
“Yeah, I think that fight’s definitely a possibility that could be becoming a reality that could happen. In fact, Emanuel has been talking with Duddy’s people and they’ve been going back and forth. I think Duddy is well up for the fight and I would like the fight, too,” said Andy Lee.
“It would be a good fight for me. He’s a good name and a good fighter and it would be a good platform for me especially here in America.
“If I won the fight I could move on to bigger fights say like a Matrinez or a Williams. Yeah, I would like the fight.”
Already December 4 has been pin-pointed as a potential date and the Lee v Duddy fight would be on the undercard of Miguel Cotto’s first defence of his WBA World light middleweight title.
“Hopefully it gets made. I think it’s an attractive fight for a lot of reasons. It’s good styles, a fighter versus a boxer, two Irish guys and a big rivalry in New York with all of our fans.
“They’re always going back and forth. So yeah, it would be a good fight. I hope it gets made,” said Andy Lee.
Lee’s manager Emmanuel Steward and Duddy’s manager Craig Hamilton have confirmed they have had discussions.
“I have talked to Craig about the fight and he’s up for it and so are we. It looks like it will be part of the undercard to Miguel Cotto in New York. New York is where I would like it to be, it’s a huge fight there for the Irish community, but I know there is interest in staging the fight in Ireland,” said Steward.
“I think for both men it’s a great fight at this stage of their careers and I believe it will take Andy closer to a world title shot. As far as I’m concerned Andy is the best middleweight in the world. I want him to face the winner of the Paul Williams-Sergio Martinez WBC title fight in November,” said Steward.
Meanwhile tickets for Willie Casey’s European Super Bantamweight title fight at Limerick’s University Sports Arena on Saturday, November 6 will go on sale this Friday. The Southill man challenges Kiko Martinez for the Spaniard’s belt. Tickets go on sale from 9am this Friday, October 1 from www.ticketmaster.ie or 0818719300.

Jerome O’Connell

McGahan plays down poor Leinster form

MUNSTER coach Tony McGahan is playing down Leinster’s indifferent early season form as the build-up to Saturday’s mammoth Magners League clash between the arch rivals at the Aviva Stadium cranks up in earnest (7.30pm).


McGahan believes the impressive levels of performance Leinster have produced against Munster in recent seasons is a better guide to the type of challenge Joe Schmidt’s side will provide this weekend rather than the stumbling start to their Magners League campaign.
Munster occupy top spot in the league table with four straight victories while Leinster are languishing in ninth place having already lost three times.
However, Leinster boast an impressive record against Munster in recent seasons, winning all four of their most recent clashes in the Magners League and Heineken Cup.
“Really all that we go on is the games that we’ve played against Leinster in the past, and how they approach us and how we approach them,” Tony McGahan said.
“If we were playing Connacht or we were playing Ulster, there would be that same mentality.
“We don’t really draw any conclusions from where they are in the table or how they’ve done in past games.
“All we know is that we expect them to be at their best on Saturday and we’re sure they’ll be expecting our best too.
“You can’t argue with history, you can’t argue with the stats.
“They have four wins out of the last four encounters and we’re zero, and that’s the way it stands. There is no argument there and we certainly don’t have any qualms.”
McGahan believes this weekend’s sell-out attendance at the 50,000-plus capacity stadium are set for a mammoth battle.
The fixture will be Munster’s final competitive outing before their Heineken Cup opening round tie away to in-form London Irish on Saturday, October 9.
Tony McGahan said: “I think there is an extra edge in training. I don’t think there is any hiding from that. These games correspond to ERC time so certainly there is a spring in the step,” McGahan admitted.
“One thing we really have tried to do over the last couple of years is to try and keep that going every week. Obviously, there are weeks with huge intensity and motivation, but trying to keep that consistently through the season is a real theme of what we are trying to do. We’ve done that so far.
“Obviously, different opponents bring out different emotions, so certainly today was a good training session,” he pointed out.
Updating a number of injury concerns with the squad at the Munster pre-match press conference in Cork yesterday, Tony McGahan said he expected winger Ian Dowling to be sidelined for three months and for the luckless Felix Jones, due to undergo an operation on Friday, to be ruled out of action for up to six months due to injury.
He hoped that both Keith Earls and hooker Jerry Flannery would be available for selection within the next two weeks.
McGahan says Munster’s run of four defeats against Leinster over the past two seasons, three in the Magners League as well as the 2009 Heineken Cup semi-final, will act as a major motivating factor this weekend.
“It’s always a motivation when you lose against anyone, but especially someone very close to you with regards to Leinster,” Australian-born McGahan said.
“Last year we lost to Glasgow badly away, we lost to Edinburgh, we lost to the Ospreys at home, and we’ve been lucky enough to play well enough and get the results in those games.
“But this game will be judged on its own merits, judged on its own environment which is different to where we have been for a period of time playing back at the Aviva Stadium. It’s one we are eagerly looking forward to.”

Munster Squad V Leinster: Wian Du Preez, Marcus Horan, Mike Sherry, Sean Henry, Damien Varley, John Hayes, Darragh Hurley, Tony Buckley, Billy Holland, Donnacha Ryan, Donncha O’Callaghan, Mick O’Driscoll, Alan Quinlan, David Wallace, Niall Ronan, Denis Leamy, Peter O’Mahony, James Coughlan, Tomás O’Leary, Peter Stringer, Ronan O’Gara, Scott Deasy, Paul Warwick, Danny Barnes, Lifeimi Mafi, Johne Murphy, Sam Tuitupou, Doug Howlett and Denis Hurley.

Colm Kinsella

Horan closes in on football appointment

MAURICE Horan will be ratified as Limerick’s new senior football manager at next Wednesday’s October monthly meeting of the Limerick Football Board in the Woodlands House Hotel in Adare.
The former Nemo Rangers boss Ephie Fitzgerald will join Horan’s backroom team as team trainer - Fitzgerald was manager of the Cork giants when they won four county titles in-a-row (2005 to 2008).
Maurice Horan has played inter-county football with both his native Mayo and Limerick.
This season the Ballinrobe native was Limerick under-21 manager and a selector on Mickey Ned O’Sullivan’s senior management team.
Under John Maughan’s stewardship Horan made his Mayo senior debut in 2003 as a 27-year-old, but that winter work commitments saw him move to Limerick and he transferred to Monaleen and joined up with Liam Kearns’ inter-county panel, but Horan was plagued by injury and had to take a break from the game.
For the last two seasons he has been involved with the Na Piarsaigh intermediate footballers.

Unconditional support
Limerick GAA chairman Liam Lenihan has called for “unconditional support” for Limerick’s new senior hurling manager Dónal O’Grady.
“What we need now is unconditional support for Dónal and his management team. We have to work together, it’s the only chance we have as a county. I would appeal to everyone in the room to preach a positive message about Limerick hurling,” pleaded Liam Lenihan after the former Cork All-Ireland winning manager was ratified at last Wednesday’s special County Board meeting.
“You are the people who will go back to their clubs, to their work places and to their families and we want you to go back with a positive message. There’s only one way to go from here and that’s forward,” he said.
“We’re all looking forward now to 2011. I think we’ve got a very good man in Dónal O’Grady. I don’t think anyone could question his pedigree, his coaching skills or his managerial skills. So, it’s upwards and onwards from here on.”
The meeting, as expected, went smoothly with no delegate raising an objection against the Cork man or his management team, namely selectors Ciarán Carey (Patrickswell), TJ Ryan (Garryspillane) and Pat Heffernan (Blackrock) who were all recommended by the Independent Appointments Committee of Jim Woulfe, Damien Quigley and Paudie Fitzmaurice in recent weeks.
“The whole idea was that they would get the right person. I didn’t want them to rush it. I didn’t know who they interviewed, I didn’t know who they spoke to and I was delighted when they came up with the name of Dónal O’Grady. Yes, it did take time, but one thing we need in Limerick is patience. We had patience with them and we heard their report there tonight. It was comprehensive. I think they met 36 times so that’s a fair amount of work for three busy men.”
“My message to supporters is to be positive and go out and support Limerick. As I said there give unconditional support to the team management and to whatever Limerick team is on the field. That’s the only way we can go forward, if we’re all working together and pulling together. I’d appeal to the supporters to give them their full support,” said Lenihan.

Ardscoil Ris
Ardscoil Ris make two trips to Tipp in the next week as they continue to fly the flag for Limerick in the top grade of colleges hurling.
Next Wednesday they begin the defence of their Harty Cup title when they face the Waterford Colleges amalgamation in Bansha at 2.30pm.
The North Circular Road secondary school have been drawn in one of the groups of three teams for this season’s Munster senior A colleges hurling championship.
Ardscoil will also face opposition from St. Colman’s College, Fermoy and two of the three teams will progress to the Harty Cup quarter-finals.
The Ardscoil Ris senior team will be managed by Niall Moran, Derek Larkin, Liam Cronin, Jimmy Browne and Natal O’Grady this season. Among their starting line-up will be Declan Hannon, Shane Dowling, Mark Carmody, Mark Ryan and Clare All-Ireland minor finalists Jamie Shanahan and Martin Moroney.
Elsewhere in the Harty Cup group A comprises of four schools: Thurles CBS, DLS Waterford, Blackwater College and St. Flannan’s. Charleville CBS are in group B along with Coláiste Chríost Rí, St. Caimin’s of Shannon and Our Lady’s, Templemore. Nenagh CBS, Midleton CBS and Kerry Colleges make up group C.
Meanwhile the Dean Ryan Cup gets underway this Thursday, September 30 in Bansha at 2.30pm when Ardscoil Ris play Blackwater of Lismore in Waterford. The Limerick secondary school are managed by Niall Crowe, Fergal Lyons and Liam Kennedy. If Ardscoil progress they will play Dungarvan in the quarter-final.

John Galvin
Limerick footballer John Galvin has been nominated for an All Star for the third time. Although Cork lead the nominations with 11 in all the Croom man is in the running for a spot at midfield following several sensational performances for the Shannonsiders this year. Galvin was also nominated last season and back in 2004, but is yet to make it into the final selection.
Galvin faces opposition for the two midfield spots from Aidan Walsh (Cork), Paddy Keenan (Louth), Michael Dara MaCauley (Dublin), Kalum King (Down) and Nicholas Murphy (Cork).
John Galvin was also in line for an International Rules spot until injury ruled him out of playing for Ireland against Australia.
The 2010 All Star nominees have been drawn from 12 counties representing all four provinces.
Defeated All-Ireland finalists Down have the second highest number with seven nominees, with semi-finalists Kildare third highest with five nominees and Dublin and Tyrone joint-next with four.
Only ten of the 45 players nominated have previously won All Stars with Kerry duo Colm Cooper and Tomás Ó Sé the most decorated nominees with five All Stars each.
The 2010 All-Star banquet takes place on October 15.

Jerome O’Connell

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monaleen cause a sensation as ladies light up Croke Park

MONALEEN caused an absolute sensation on Saturday afternoon when beating Drom-Broadford, the 2008 and 2009 county champions, by a point in a thrilling county semi-final at Fitzgerald Park, Kilmallock.


Monaleen saw off Fr. Casey’s (0-11 to 0-9) in the quarter-finals and although they entered Saturday’s semi-final as distinct underdogs Ger Lawlor’s side stunned the defending champions and were good value for their 0-12 to 0-11 win. Monaleen will be joined in the final, which is scheduled for October 17, by Adare who saw off Ballylanders 2-8 to 0-12 in Kilmallock on Saturday.
In the intermediate football championship Mountcollins got the better of Bruff (3-8 to 1-10) in Saturday’s quarter-final replay in Newcastle West and will now take on Oola in the semi-finals for the right to play Galbally in the county final.
The excitement is building down south as Emmets and Kilmallock prepare to face off in next Sunday’s county senior hurling final at the Gaelic Grounds.
The senior final is expected to form the second part of an extremely attractive double header, the first game of which should see Doon face off against South Liberties in the inaugural County Cup final - South Liberties booked their place in the final following their extraordinary 6-15 to 1-12 win over Croom on Saturday afternoon while Doon beat Bruff in their respective semi-final last week.
While South Liberties and Doon will be hurling their way into history in the inaugural County Cup final at the Gaelic Grounds Kilbreedy (throw-in 7.30pm) is expected to host some very serious business on Friday night when Claughaun and Garryspillane clash in the county senior hurling relegation final.
The Hoops have already lost the senior football relegation final this term and will be eager to avoid the drop from the senior hurling ranks.
The Limerick ladies footballers stormed to a stunning 4-10 to 3-8 win over Louth in Sunday’s All-Ireland junior final at Croke Park.
Tommy Stack’s team trailed by two goals at half time, but staged a sensational second-half comeback to win with five points to spare.
Marie-Claire Curtin and Dymphna O’Brien were the heroes for Limerick on the day scoring a combined 3-10 between them. The only other scorer for Limerick was Clodagh Reidy who netted a second half goal.
Speaking to Leader Sport in the aftermath of this famous win Limerick manager Tommy Stack said: “This is very satisfying. A lot of hard work has gone into the year. I think we have met more than 100 times in all as a group this year. The intensity in training and commitment in training has been second to none. We have played some very good challenge games.
“The second half today especially showed what these girls have, not just physically and skills wise, but mentally also,” Stack explained.
Meanwhile the Football Board appear poised to nominate Mayo man Maurice Horan as their preferred option to succeed Mickey Ned O’Sullivan as senior football manager. The recommendation will go to a Football Board meeting on Tuesday night and then, if successful, to a full County Board meeting for ratification. Maurice Horan served as selector this year under Mickey Ned O’Sullivan while he also managed the under-21 team. If ratified Horan is expected to also manage the under-21 side next season. A further development may see Horan introduce former Nemo Rangers boss Ephie Fitzgerald, who trained the Cork giants to four county titles in-a-row (2005 to 2008), as the team trainer.

BRIAN MCDONNELL

Munster maintain winning run as Leinster loom large

MUNSTER will set out to complete their own version of the ‘Drive for Five’ at the new Aviva Stadium this Saturday when the Magners League leaders lock horns with Leinster (7.30pm).
In-form Munster made it four wins on the trot in the league when recording a 43-29 bonus-point victory over the Glasgow Warriors at Firhill on Friday night.
The victory has helped Munster build a three-point lead over the Scarlets at the top of the Magners League table.
Munster will travel to the Aviva Stadium in confident mood, but also conscious of the fact that Leinster have emerged victorious in each of the four most recent meetings between the provinces.
The versatile Johne Murphy opened his try-scoring account for Munster, bagging a brace of touchdowns in the impressive come-from-behind victory over the Warriors on Friday.
Stand-in captain Denis Leamy and in-form flanker Niall Ronan also crossed the Warriors’ whitewash.
Out-half Ronan O’Gara stamped his mark on the fourth round game kicking 23 points which included four second half penalty goals.
Glasgow had edged their way into a 26-17 half-time lead.
At the same time Munster were recording a previous away win in Scotland, Leinster were succumbing to a 32-24 defeat to Edinburgh at Murrayfield.
The defeat, Leinster’s third in four Magners League fixtures, has seen last season’s play-off finalists slip down to ninth place in the table.
Saturday evening’s game at the Aviva Stadium will be televised live on TG4.
Leinster Rugby has announced that only 3,500 tickets are available for the glamour Magners league tie with Munster at the Aviva Stadium.
Limited seats are available in all categories of the stadium priced between €30 and €70. Tickets for the game can be purchased from ticketmaster (ticketmaster.ie).
Leinster Chief Executive Mick Dawson said: “There has been a steady take-up over the past few weeks and we are delighted to announce that over 47,500 tickets have now been sold for the Munster match”.
Meanwhile, on the club front, Limerick sides experienced a mixed day in the opening round of the ODM Financial Munster Senior Cup. Holders Young Munster surrendered their grip on the Cup after suffering a 27-20 defeat to UL-Bohemian at Annacotty. Munsters will be concerned by the knee injury sustained by scrum-half and the club’s Director of Rugby, Mike Prendergast late on in the game with Friday night’s opening round AIL tie with Garryowen at Dooradoyle looming large. UL Bohemian’s prize for knocking out the holders is a last eight tie with either Garryowen or UCC in November.
In the weekend’s second all-Limerick Munster Senior Cup clash Bruff recorded a surprise 21-14 victory over Cup specialists Shannon at Kilballyowen Park.
Bruff will now enjoy home advantage for their quarter-final clash with Cork Constitution.
Elsewhere, Thomond suffered a dramatic extra-time defeat to Highfield while Old Crescent exited the Cup at the hands of Midleton. Garryowen’s scheduled clash with UCC did not take place as a result of the students Dudley Cup commitments.

COLM KINSELLA

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

O’Grady wipes the Limerick slate clean

DONAL O’Grady has vowed to bring some “stability” to Limerick hurling.
The new inter-county senior hurling manager has agreed a one-year deal to replace Justin McCarthy and has put in place an impressive backroom team which includes former Shannonside heroes Ciaran Carey, TJ Ryan and Pat Heffernan.


All in Limerick, from supporters to players to officials, will be hoping that the arrival of the former Cork All-Ireland winning manager will bring an end to a turbulent 11 months.
Speaking to Leader Sport this Tuesday Donal O’Grady said that “everyone” would be considered for selection in 2011.
“My way is that when I come into a new position with any group I draw a line under everything in the past,” said O’Grady who confirmed that he will be in the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday week for the county hurling final between Kilmallock and Emmets.
“Everything is old, everyone will have a clean sheet, a blank canvass.”
He added: “Everyone deserves a chance to play for Limerick.
“For me history doesn’t start until January 1, 2011 and every player will be considered.”

Out of the blue
The 56-year-old retired secondary school principal has been out of inter-county management since departing his native Cork at the end of a two-year term which yielded the 2004 All-Ireland title.
“This came up out of the blue,” he said of the Limerick position.
“I was approached last week to know if I would be interested. I met the Appointments Committee and then made up my mind and met the selectors on Monday night,” Donal O’Grady explained.

Appointment process
The Independent Appointments Committee of Damien Quigley, Paudie Fitzmaurice and Jim Woulfe set about their task after the July monthly meeting of the Limerick County Board. It was always within their remit to source a manager from outside those nominated by the clubs and from the outset Donal O’Grady was rumoured as a potential successor to Justin McCarthy. Out-going manager McCarthy was among the nine nominated by the clubs along with Ciaran Carey, TJ Ryan, Gary Kirby, Leo O’Connor, Val Murnane, Dave Keane, John Tuohy and John Allen.
After over two months of interviews and deliberations the three-man committee got their man this Monday night when Donal O’Grady met with his new selectors in the Charleville Park Hotel.
“I am delighted that they are on board. They all bring something different to the management team. These guys are Limerick to their finger tips and are all very enthusiastic. It’s a very strong management team,” Donal O’Grady said of Carey, Ryan and Heffernan.
As of now no physical trainer has been announced while issues such as a liaison officer and other elements of the back room team will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

One-year term
O’Grady has agreed to stay with Limerick for just the 2011 season and it is his wish that one of his selectors could step into his shoes the following season - just as John Allen did in Cork.
“My opinion is that I felt that Limerick should be able to look after itself and that there should be some sort of succession path. My feeling all along is that there would be enough managerial talent in Limerick to look after themselves, but they felt they needed someone to bring stability and maybe because I came in with Cork after 2002 that I was the right person. I suppose my role would be to bring in some structures and to put some things in place so that Limerick will be able to carry on by themselves after me,” he outlined.
“It’s a bit of a challenge, it’s safe to say,” said the former Rebel full-back.
“The challenge appealed to me and Limerick is not a million miles away from me. I always enjoyed the coaching side of things. I don’t think it would have appealed to me if I was approached by a club to allow my name go forward, but it was different when I was sought out and I decided to give it a lash,” he explained.
The decision wasn’t take lightly.
“It’s a major decision and commitment. There is a degree of travel, late nights, dealing with journalists etc.”

Attention to detail
Donal O’Grady is known for his attention to detail and his man-management skills.
“There is a awful lot of work to do to get all the small things right and I am a firm believer that you start with the small things and everything else will fall into place. And, I would always think that a team is like a pyramid. You have to make the base very solid, the bottom has to be right and the right things have to be in place with relation to the training and so on as well as logistical matters. They are the kind of things that maybe have been missing in my opinion. I won’t really know until I get in there, but that’s the role I see for myself in the coming year.”
But it’s a return to the training field that tempted O’Grady to return to inter-county management: “Coaching enthuses me and most coaches like the opportunity to coach at the top level. I want to get the players to play the best they can and put a system and structure in place to ensure that. My attitude has always been, whether it was an under-14, under-16 or senior team, that I was there to get the best from the players.”
For many an instant return to division one of the National Hurling League would be paramount, but Donal O’Grady was warned of the dangers of division two.
“I think it’s a huge challenge. The standard is rising in that division - look at Antrim reaching the All-Ireland quarter-final and the likes of Carlow and Laois are on the rise. It’s mentally tough to get out of that division. It is a very difficult situation because every team in division two will feel Limerick are a big scalp so it will be a huge challenge for Limerick,” Donal O’Grady said.
“Firstly the most important thing to do will be to get to know the players and maybe put together the strongest panel possible. I would always hope to take it on from there.
“As a manager I would never say that we are going to win this competition or to win that competition. I would hope to put belief into the players and to bring out their potential and I can’t do anymore than that.”

Facing Cork
Limerick’s relegation earlier this year also helped make up O’Grady’s mind.
“One attraction was that they won’t be meeting Cork - I would find that a bit awkward. As I said Cork are in division one and Limerick are in division two so hopefully they won’t meet one another. That was one thing that was very attractive to me about the job before I took it. I would hope that won’t happen. If it happens, it happens,” said the St. Finbarr’s club-man.
A hurling analyst in recent years on radio, television and with the Irish Examiner O’Grady is well aware of the “traumatic” year that Limerick just been through. Dual players and discipline are just two of the “issues” he will have to address.
“We will cross those bridges when we come to them,” he said.
“They are three to four months down the line.”
O’Grady said he will “introduce good practise”.
“We will lay down guidelines and parameters and hope that the player adhere to them. It’s up to everyone to do what they want to. It’s a decision for every individual,” he said of dual players.
“From what I am hearing a lot of that talk was mythical,” O’Grady said when discussing rumours of indiscipline in recent years.
But he added that he expects high standards from his players and that for many of them: “They know it will be sink or swim”.

This Wednesday evening (September 22) Donal O’Grady was expected to be officially ratified at a County Board club delegate meeting in Claughaun.

Jerome O’Connell

McGlinchey and Horan remain football front runners

MAURICE Horan and Tom McGlinchey remain the front runners to replace Mickey Ned O’Sullivan as Limerick’s new senior football manager.
A final decision is expected before the weekend and yet another special County Board meeting will have to be scheduled in the near future to ratify the selected candidate.
It appears that there is a strong feeling that there should be some continuity going forward and this would point toward Maurice Horan.
Horan has played inter-county football with both his native Mayo and Limerick. This season the Ballinrobe native was Limerick under-21 manager and a selector with Mickey Ned O’Sullivan’s senior management.
Under John Maughan’s stewardship Horan made his Mayo senior debut in 2003 as a 27-year-old, but that winter work commitments saw him move to Limerick and he transferred to Monaleen and joined up with Liam Kearns’ inter-county panel.
But Horan was plagued by injury and had to take a break from the game. For the last two seasons he has been involved with the Na Piarsaigh intermediate footballers.
Leader Sport has learned that Horan could be bringing Ephie Fitzgerald on board in his backroom team.
The former Nemo Rangers manager won three All-Ireland club medals with his club as a player.
Also in the frame is former Tipperary senior football manager Tom McGlinchey.
The Cork native led Tipperary to a 2002 Munster final appearance and was coach to the Ballylanders side that won the 2007 County SFC title. Withdrawn from the process are former Limerick and Laois senior football manager Liam Kearns and former Clare senior football manager John Kennedy.
The two Kerry natives were among the six nominations initially submitted by the clubs of the county however football committee officials have the remit to source a manager from outside the short list.
John Galvin, Sean McAuliffe and Michael Sheehan have been handed the task of finding the new manager who will have to be ratified by both the football committee and the County Board.

Jerome O’Connell

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

O’Grady nominated as hurling manager

FORMER Cork All-Ireland winning manager Donal O’Grady is poised to become the new Limerick senior hurling manager.
While there has been no confirmation from Limerick GAA officials it is understood that O’Grady’s name will be put before the clubs of Limerick in the coming days when a special County Board meeting is scheduled to ratify the new management team.


This Monday evening the three-man Independent Appointments Committee brought their two-month search for the county’s new hurling maestro to an end when Donal O’Grady began to assemble his backroom team. The 56-year-old Cork native met with potential selectors in the Charleville Park Hotel. Former Limerick hurling heroes Ciaran Carey, Pat Heffernan and TJ Ryan are all understood to be in line for positions as selectors. The trio of former players were all in the Limerick team that lost the 1994 All-Ireland final to Offaly. Carey and Ryan were among the initial nine nominations from the clubs for the position of manager. Heffernan has previously served as manager of the Kerry senior hurling team.
The Independent Appointments Committee of Damien Quigley, Paudie Fitzmaurice and Jim Woulfe set about their task after the July monthly meeting of the Limerick County Board. It was always within their remit to source a manager from outside those nominated by the clubs and from the outset Donal O’Grady was rumoured as a potential successor to Justin McCarthy.
Earlier this month Donal O’Grady appeared to distance himself from the Limerick role: “I haven’t spoken to anyone in Limerick. And nobody has spoken to me. I’m aware of those rumours, but that’s all they are”.
Donal O’Grady has recently retired as principal of the North Monastery CBS in Cork city and is a prominent member of the St. Finbarr’s club in Cork with whom he won several county titles throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
Donal O’Grady was also an outstanding inter-county full-back. O’Grady captained the Rebels to a second consecutive National Hurling League in 1981 before winning his first Munster title in 1982. In 1984 O’Grady starred in a campaign which saw Cork beat Offaly in the All-Ireland final. O’Grady served a selector for one year in 1986 when Cork won another All-Ireland title.
He then managed Cork in 2003 and 2004. During his first year in charge he handed inter-county debuts to John Gardiner, Tom Kenny, Ronan Curran and Setanta Ó hAilpín. Cork duly won the Munster title, but lost the All-Ireland final to Kilkenny by three points. For 2004 O’Grady tempted Brian Corcoran back out of retirement after Setanta Ó hAilpín departed for Australia. That season Cork lost the Munster final to Waterford, but plotted a course to the All-Ireland final through the qualifiers before beating Kilkenny to the McCarthy Cup.
O’Grady resigned in the wake of that victory, but has worked as a pundit on RTÉ’s The Sunday Game while also working as a columnist for the Irish Examiner.
Meanwhile on the club scene this weekend the semi-finals of the county senior football championship dominate. Monaleen play champions Dromcollogher-Broadford and Adare play Ballylanders in a double-header in Kilmallock.
Last weekend Claughaun were relegated from the senior football championship. The 14-time county senior football champions drop back to the intermediate ranks next season after their play-off defeat to Newcastle West.
Claughaun now turn to their attention to another relegation play-off as they fight for their senior hurling survival when they face 2005 county senior champions Garryspillane in the senior hurling relegation final.
Favourites Ballybrown were knocked out of the intermediate hurling championship by Hospital-Herbertstown, 1-12 to 0-13.
Just like the senior hurling championship, the intermediate final will be an all-south affair with Hospital-Herbertstown awaiting the winners of a replay between Dromin-Athlacca and Glenroe who drew 0-11 a-piece.
There was also a draw in the County Cup semi-final between South Liberties and Croom.
With Doon awaiting the winners in the final of the new competition Croom scored an injury-time goal to secure a replay. There was yet another draw in the intermediate football championship quarter-final between Bruff and Mountcollins.
Oola await the winners in the semi-final, with Galbally playing Hospital-Herbertstown in the other semi-final.
In the other news the Limerick ladies footballers are this week preparing for their All-Ireland junior final against Louth in Croke Park on Sunday (throw-in 12 noon).
The game will be shown live on TG4 and the Limerick ladies will be hoping to go one better than 2009 when the Shannonsiders lost the All-Ireland final to Antrim.

Jerome O’Connell

Munster suffer injury blows ahead of key Magners League clashes

MUNSTER have been dealt three injury blows ahead of key fixtures in the Magners League and Heineken Cup.
It has been confirmed that full-back Felix Jones suffered cruciate ligament damage in his right knee during Saturday’s victory over the Ospreys at Thomond Park.
Luckless Jones only returned to action at start of this season having been sidelined since December due to a serious neck injury.
In a further blow to Munster ahead of Friday’s Magners League fixture with the Glasgow Warriors at Firhill (7.30pm), it has also been confirmed that hooker Denis Fogarty will be out of action until the New Year having undergone a shoulder operation on Monday morning in a Dublin clinic.
The extent of the damage winger Ian Dowling suffered to his hip early on in the Ospreys game has still to be fully determined. Both he and Felix Jones are to seek further specialist advice. However, a Munster Rugby statement revealed that ‘initial examination suggests they both face lengthy periods of rehab’.
Meanwhile the Munster A Schools’ side begin their quest for inter-provincial honours with a fixture against Connacht Schools at St. Nessan’s Community College’s new playing pitch this Wednesday at 3pm. The game will be preceded by the official opening of the new playing pitch at St. Nessan’s which will be performed by Munster rugby star Keith Earls. Twenty-two-year-old Earls is a past pupil of the school.
No fewer than five Limerick-based schools have representatives in the 27-strong squad announced for the game. Munster A Schools starting line-up will include the Villiers duo of Ronan Hunt at full-back and his colleague Aaron Atkinson at scrum-half.
St. Clement’s College also have two representatives in the starting line-up, Paddy Marks at tight-head prop and Evan Fitzgerald in the second row. Keith Ryan, of host school St Nessan’s Community College, is included in the replacements as is Eoghan Bedford of Salesians Pallaskenry, Ryan Meaney of Gaelcholaiste Luimnigh, and the St. Clement’s duo of Dara Phillips and Shane Gavin and Niall Fitzgerald from Villiers.
The Munster A Schools team v Connacht: Ronan Hunt (Villiers), Conor Moloney (Bandon Grammar), Conor Haran (Waterpark College), Andrew Walsh (Newtown), Stephen Scallan (Newtown); Ned Hodson (Midleton College), Aaron Atkinson (Villiers); Neil Willoughby (Bandon Grammar), Ben Cross (Newtown), Paddy Marks (St. Clement’s); PJ Hegarty (Bandon Grammar), Evan Fitzgerald (St. Clement’s); Willie O’Morochoe (N) (capt.), Sam Hunter (Bandon Grammar), Peter Deane (Bandon Grammar). Replacements: Keith Ryan (St. Nessan’s Community College), Diarmuid O’Donnell (Abbey), Eoghan Bedford (Salesians Pallaskenry), Ryan Meaney (Gaelcholaiste Luimnigh), Stuart O’Sullivan (Midleton College), Dara Phillips (St. Clement’s), Jack Robinson (Bandon Grammar), Deano James (Midleton College), Niall Fitzgerald (Villiers), Shane Galvin (St. Clement’s), John Sweetnam (Midleton College), Pat Ryan (Abbey).

Colm Kinsella

Monday, September 20, 2010

Steward: ‘We want Andy to fight for the title by March’

LIMERICK pro-boxer Andy Lee could fight for a world middleweight title by next March. That was the promise of his manager Emanuel Steward after the Limerick man brought his career record to 23 wins from 24 bouts on Friday night in Chicago.
The Castleconnell 26-year-old maintained his push for a world title bout after defeating Michael Walker at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago.


The former St. Francis Boxing Club Olympian stopped the hometown fighter after two minutes and three seconds of the eighth round.
While Lee appeared to dominate the early rounds Walker held his ground and could very well have been ahead on points when the referee stopped the fight.
“He might have been outpointing me, but all the while I was hitting him with shots. I knew I’d wear him down in the end,” said Andy Lee after he brought his unbeaten record to eight fights.
“I always felt fully confident from the moment the bout was signed,” said the confident Limerick man.
Manager Emanuel Steward declared himself happy with Lee’s progress after the weekend win: “The other man came to fight. Andy was just a step ahead of him. I was satisfied because I wanted him to get some rounds in. We want Andy to fight for the title by March and he’s right on schedule.”
“Andy is growing in confidence. He fought a very smart and disciplined fight. He demonstrated great maturity in the ring.”
It has also been confirmed that Andy Lee will take on Troy Lowry on October 2.
That bout will take place in the Horseshoe Casino in Indiana - a venue where Lee defeated Anthony Shuler in August 2009.
While all in the Kronk Gym continue to eye a world title fight for Lee a return back to Ireland has not been ruled out for this side of Christmas.
Meanwhile Lee’s former amateur coach Ken Moore of St. Francis was one of the driving forces behind a top class amateur exhibition in the South Court Hotel in Raheen on Friday night between an Irish selection and a Eastern European selection.
Irish Olympian John Joe Joyce was among the star attractions and he didn’t disappoint with a win over Ukrainian light middleweight Oleksander Ivanev.
“I called on all these Irish great boxers and not one lad said no to me and what we got was a top night’s boxing. I would be surprised if there is a better night of boxing in Ireland this year,” said Moore.
“Each one showed their class tonight and I’m very proud to be associated with each of them. The only pity is we only got 300 people, this show deserved 3,000. That’s how good it was,” said Moore.
The night started with two absorbing support bouts.
In a local contest between Limerick’s Derek Duhig (St. Francis) and Ger Griffin (Corpus Christi) the honours went to Griffin.
National champion Jessie Lyons (St. Francis) added to her growing reputation by beating three-time champion Ciara Doyle of Gorey.
The biggest cheer of the night was given to Irish team captain and St. Francis boxer Mark McNamara who was a points winner over Grodamski Tomasz of Poland.

JEROME O’CONNELL

Munster await medical reports on injured trio

MUNSTER were awaiting further medical updates on three players today as the province’s focus switches to Friday night’s Magners League clash with the Glasgow Warriors at the Firhill Stadium (7.30pm).


Munster maintained their grip on top spot in the Magners League table after securing a deserved 22-10 victory over the holders, the Ospreys, at Thomond Park on Saturday night before an official attendance of 18,400.
However, the victory came at a cost as three members of Tony McGahan’s starting line-up were forced off early with injuries.
Hooker Denis Fogarty was due to undergo a medical procedure on an injured shoulder in a Dublin clinic today in order to repair the damage.
Unfortunate full-back Felix Jones will have to wait until the swelling goes down on a knee injury he picked up late on in Saturday’s game before undergoing further examination while winger Ian Dowling was due to undergo a medical examination in order to establish the full extent of the hip injury he sustained very early on in the round three tie.
The good news for coach McGahan is that number eight Denis Leamy, who was a late withdrawal from the Munster side on Saturday due to a rib injury he sustained in training, is expected to be available for the trip to Glasgow later this week.
Man of the Match from Munster’s victory over the Ospreys, Doug Howlett, does not believe the result will have any bearing on the upcoming Heineken cup pool meetings between the sides. The impressive Howlett, who captained Munster on the night, scored the province’s only try of the game shortly after half-time.
“It’s still early in the season and you want to be picking up the league points where you can,” Howlett said.
“It was a great result. There was no shortage of motivation going into the game. It was our first at Thomond Park this season and with Alan Quinlan earning his 200th cap, we wanted to make it a special occasion and we managed to get the result in the end. The Ospreys are the kind of side which can score from anywhere on the pitch. That was the first of four games the sides will play this season and there is a lot of work to be done still. It was an honour to captain the side and it is an honour to be part of this fantastic team.”
Munster coach Tony McGahan said everyone involved in the set-up was delighted that flanker Alan Quinlan had reached a landmark in making 200 appearances for the province.
Tony McGahan said: “What more can you say about Alan? He was enthusiastic as usual. There was a great intensity to what he did. He was huge for us. The players are management are so delighted for him to get his 200th game. Everyone rowed in behind him and he certainly played a major part in the result tonight. I am delighted for him and his family.”
Meanwhile more than 43,000 tickets have already been sold for Munster’s round five Magners League clash with Leinster at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday week, October 2.
Limited tickets for all categories - price €30 to €70 - are available now online from a number of outlets including Ticketmaster outlets nationwide. This will be the first competitive rugby match to be played in the new state of the art arena and the fixture is expected to attract a sell-out crowd on the day.

COLM KINSELLA

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

‘By Friday week we should be ready’

LIMERICK’S new county senior hurling and football managers will be confirmed at a special County Board meeting inside the next two weeks.
This Tuesday night Limerick County Board chairman Liam Lenihan told the September County Board meeting that a hurling appointment was imminent and his football counterpart John Galvin said that the football manager could be in position “within the next ten days”.


This would mean that both inter-county management teams could be in place before the county senior and intermediate championship finals.
Liam Lenihan told the club delegates that he had spoken to the chairman of the selection committee, Jim Woulfe, in the previous 24 hours.
“We are all anxious to get this sorted as soon as possible and Jim Woulfe assured me that by Friday week we should be ready,” explained chairman Liam Lenihan.
To their credit the three-man Independent Appointments Committee of Paudie Fitzmaurice, Jim Woulfe and Damien Quigley have remained tight-lipped throughout their two-month search for the 2011 hurling manager.
It is understood that former inter-county players Gary Kirby, TJ Ryan, Ciaran Carey and Pat Heffernan were among those interviewed for the position during the past two weeks, but names such as Davy Fitzgerald, Pat Herbert and Tony Considine have also been mentioned.
Former Cork All-Ireland winning manager Donal O’Grady has quashed rumours linking him to position.
“I haven’t spoken to anyone in Limerick,” Donal O’Grady said.
“And nobody has spoken to me. I’m aware of those rumours, but that’s all they are,” he said in the past week.
Also at Tuesday’s County Board meeting Limerick’s minor hurling management for 2011 was ratified. Former Limerick corner-forward Shane Fitzgibbon was confirmed as manager with Mike Galligan (Claughaun), Frankie Carroll (Garryspillane), George Lee (Ahane) and Joe Hannon (Adare) as selectors. This management team have progressed up along the varying age levels with next season’s minor players.
Meanwhile the selection process for Limerick’s under-21 hurling manager for next season has been postponed until the senior management team are in place. A total of seven different candidates have been nominated by the clubs. Among them is outgoing under-21 manager Leo O’Connor. Also on the shortlist are John Tuohy (Patrickswell), Tony Dunne (Adare), Natal O’Grady (Patrickswell), Gerard Murphy (Templeglantine), Val Murnane (Caherline) and Mick Heelan (Kilmallock).

Football manager
The committee charged with finding Limerick’s new senior football manager have already interviewed five candidates - Maurice Horan and Tom McGlinchey are the front runners to replace Mickey Ned O’Sullivan.
Horan has played inter-county football with both his native Mayo and Limerick. This season the Ballinrobe native was Limerick under-21 manager and a selector with Mickey Ned O’Sullivan’s senior management. His appointment would guarantee some continuinty going forward.
Also in the frame is former Tipperary senior football manager Tom McGlinchey. The Cork native led Tipperary to a 2002 Munster final appearance and was coach to the Ballylanders side that won the 2007 County SFC title.
Withdrawn from the process are former Limerick and Laois senior football manager Liam Kearns and former Clare senior football manager John Kennedy.
The two Kerry natives withdrew their names late last week.
“I have informed the Limerick County Board of my decision. It wouldn’t be the right move for Limerick football or me at the moment,” said Liam Kearns.
“It’s my intention to return to inter-county management at some stage once all the circumstances are right,” said Kearns, who previously managed Limerick from 1999 to 2005.
Six nominations were initially submitted by the clubs of the county however football committee officials have the remit to source a manager from outside the short list.
John Galvin, Sean McAuliffe and Michael Sheehan have been handed the task of finding the new manager who will have to be ratified by both the football committee and the County Board.
In the past week the trio met with five potential managers - Horan, McGlinchey, Johnny Cummins, John Brudair and Paddy Ivess.

Annual convention
While the inter-county managements will be filled in the coming weeks, attention will then turn to the annual convention in December where three positions will become vacant.
This week it was confirmed that Limerick football committee chairman John Galvin, Limerick GAA Coaching and Games Officer Gerry Philips and Limerick GAA vice-chairman Mickey O’Sullivan would all be stepping down from their roles at the end of this year as they have served the maximum of five years in their positions.
It was also confirmed that all remaining officiers intend to allow their names go forward for re-election.

Jerome O’Connell

Moves to establish ‘Hurling Board’ set to step up a notch

MOVES to form a County Hurling Board could be set to step up a notch with the break-away group contemplating submitting a formal motion to the Limerick annual convention. In the past week representatives of the new break-away group met in the Gaelic Grounds with officers of the County Board and four weeks previously the two sides had held an initial meeting.
A 16-man committee are behind the plans to establish a seperate Hurling Board for Limerick - four representatives from clubs from each of the four divisions. It is understood that the intentions of those behind the Hurling Board are to ‘run’ all aspects of Limerick hurling - including fund-raising. Leader Sport believes that at last week’s meeting between the Limerick GAA hierarchy and the break-away group any possibility of official support for the move was ruled out.
However, this Tuesday night there was a brief discussion about the proposed Hurling Board at the September County Board Meeting.
The meeting was discussing a proposal to expand “Lifting The Treaty” when Limerick GAA Chairman Liam Lenihan proposed that a sub-committee be set up to investigate the possibilty of creating “Lifting The Treaty 2”. The chairman asked for opinions as to the appointment of two members of this break-away group into the sub-committee.
“As you are aware there is an ad-hoc hurling committee and we have sat down with them twice and they have some very definite ideas about how hurling should be progressed.
“With your permission I was going to ask them to nominate two people to come onto the committee,” explained chairman Liam Lenihan.
He added: “We will take our instructions from ye”.
The Limerick GAA Chairman then outlined the dealings with the new group.
“At the first meeting they outlined verbally what their aims were and then they came back with a document to the county secretary and that was circulated to the officers and we had a look at it and we met them last Wednesday.
“Noel Hartigan gave a presentation on what is happening at underage level because there are some people out there who wouldn’t be aware of it. Mike (O’Riordan) gave a presentation of what’s happening at adult level and Gerry (Philips) spoke about coaching and games and Tony (Roche) spoke about our underage county teams.”
Liam Lenihan told the meeting that the motive of the “ad-hoc committee” was to set up a Hurling Board: “They are self-appointed and self-regulated, but they certainly have ideas”.
It appeared that news of the break-away group was news to some club delegates and while there were no decisions made and the discussion was brief, there is no doubting that the topic will be discussed again in the near future. It is understood that another meeting between the break-away group and Limerick GAA officiers could take place inside the next week.
However, there is an increasing feeling that the ‘Hurling Board Committee’ could be set to formulate a motion which they would require a club to submit for December’s annual convention. That motion would seek to gain official recognition for the new Hurling Board.
The break-away group contains a number of high-profile figures within Limerick hurling - including past and present high-ranking officials, former inter-county hurlers and footballers and former members of inter-county management teams.

Jerome O’Connell

Alan in line to make landmark appearance

VETERAN flanker Alan Quinlan is in line to make a landmark 200th competitive appearance for Munster in Saturday’s glamour Magners League meeting with the Ospreys at Thomond Park (8pm).
Quinlan will move within one cap of record holder Anthony Foley who made 201 appearances for the province, should the 36-year-old, as expected, see action in this weekend’s tie.


Quinlan made his debut for Munster in 1996 in a friendly tie against Western Samoa at Musgrave Park and is in his 15th season playing with the province. It took Quinlan almost nine years to accumulate his first 100 caps in the red of Munster and just five to complete the second century.
Current Munster squad advisor, Mick Galwey, who played alongside Quinlan at Shannon, Munster and ireland, said the flanker’s passion for the jersey helped him maintain at the top of his profession for so long.
Galwey, the first player to win 100 Munster caps said: “I remember him when he won his first cap, his first few caps, his first Heineken Cup start. They all meant so much to him and even to this day I can still see that putting on the Munster jersey means so much to Alan.”
Munster received a major boost ahead of key upcoming fixtures with confirmation that centre Lifeimi Mafi will make his return to competitive action for the province’s ‘A’ side in the interprovincial clash with the Ulster Ravens at Nenagh Ormond’s grounds this Friday (4.30pm). Twenty-eight-year-old Mafi has been sidelined since undergoing surgery for a shoulder injury last May.
Mafi’s return to fitness is a major boost for the province, with Ireland’s international centre Keith Earls also on the sidelines at present.
Earls is, expected to be out of action until Munster’s opening round fixtures in the Heineken Cup next month.
Munster manager Shaun Payne explained: “We are very happy, obviously, with the recovery Mafs (Lifeimi Mafi) has made from the shoulder surgery. We are not going to put him straight back in to the senior team. We will let him line out for the A side this week with a view to towards the upcoming ERC games and the Magners League matches with Glasgow and Leinster.
“It’s a little bit ahead of schedule. He has been absolutely outstanding for us in the past couple of seasons. Last season he was struggling a bit with that shoulder and right throughout the season, it was one that was hanging over him. He’s a dynamic player.”
The Ospreys completed a home and away double over Munster in the Magners League last season and Payne believes the Welsh side will prove an even bigger test this season.
“Now they have had good results against us and against Leinster last year they will have confidence to boot to go with what has always been an excellent squad.
“They have been good in the Magners League so far - Ospreys are certainly dangerous.”
Manager Payne agreed this weekend’s game takes on an added dimension as the clubs have been drawn in the same pool in this season’s Heineken Cup.
“Yeah, Saturday’s game does take on an added dimension.
“Obviously there are four games minimum against them this season so it’s quite strange in a way,” Shaun Payne said.
“We have the double header against them in the Heineken Cup towards the end of the year.
“But in seasons past everything would have been centred on the Heineken Cup whereas the Welsh sides, the Scottish sides and ourselves - we’ll wait and see what the Italians are doing - but we seem to be placing more and more emphasis on the Magners League games as well.
“So it’s a case of what do you want to give away in these games, do you want to hold anything back for the Heineken Cup games? We’re just approaching it game by game at the minute, obviously building up to the ERC games.”
Munster’s starting line-up to face the Ospreys is due to be announced at mid-day on Friday.
Munster squad v Ospreys: Denis Hurley, Felix Jones, Scott Deasy, Ian Dowling, Doug Howlett, Danny Barnes, Johne Murphy, Sam Tuitupou, Ronan O’Gara, Paul Warwick, Duncan Williams, Peter Stringer, Tomas O’Leary, Wian du Preez, Marcus Horan, Damien Varley, Denis Fogarty, John Hayes, Tony Buckley, Donncha O’Callaghan, Billy Holland, Donncha Ryan, Mick O’Driscoll, Ian Nagle, Alan Quinlan.

Colm Kinsella

Andy Lee returns to the ring on Friday night

ANDY Lee has boxed just twice in 2010, but now he is to face into two fights in 15 days. The 26-year-old Limerick pro-boxer will be back in the ring this Friday (September 17) when he fights Michael Walker at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago.
The Castleconnell middleweight will headline the ten-fight card with a ten-round contest against Walker who is a home town favourite. Thirty-two-year-old Walker has 19 wins from his 25 professional fights, but has suffered losses in his last three contests. Walker has only fought twice in 2010 and only had one fight in 2009.
Although Walker’s recent record points to a Lee win the Limerick man is taking nothing for granted.
“Michael Walker is no push over. I will have to be on top of my game, especially fighting him in his home town. He will try and train even harder for this fight, but I’ll be ready for him,” said Andy Lee.
“I know him well. I’ve watched him fight a few times and know his style. He’s a tough, rugged, aggressive fighter, but he is short and one paced so I will use my height and speed and look to out box him,” explained Lee.
“I’d like to fight for a world title next year, but I’m not looking past Michael Walker.
“I’ve seen a few of his fights and I know how tough he is, plus I know that fighting at home will be important for him as it is for me when I fight in Ireland. I’m looking forward to getting into the ring on Friday night and have been doing a lot of sparring in the gym in Detroit.
“Michael Walker is an experienced fighter, he will have his job to do and I will have mine, but I aim to come out on top,” added Lee.
“We’ve gotten some great sparring here with Anthony Dirrell and James Countryman. Chicago is a terrific city with a huge Irish population and I’m looking forward to fighting there on September 17.”
If the former St. Francis Boxing Club Olympian is successful on Friday he could be back in action just two weeks later with an October 2 date provisionally marked into his diary. That bout will take place in the Horseshoe Casino in Indiana - a venue where Lee defeated Anthony Shuler in August 2009.
“I have to say it’s great to be back in action so soon.
“I need to keep busy, after only fighting twice so far this year it will serve me well to stay active,” added Andy Lee.
He manager Emmanuel Steward confirmed that there are hectic times ahead for the Limerick pro-boxer: “I’m keen to keep Andy busy and have planned fights for him in the coming months. Andy is now ranked fifth in the European rankings and ninth in the WBA rankings and in the first half of 2011 Andy will be primed and ready to challenge for a world title. The division is now wide open with new young talent coming through and Andy has all the qualities and tools a fighter needs to win a world title.”
Andy Lee’s record now stands at 21 wins from 22 fights with 16 kos. While the Detroit-based boxer has been busy of late, he still awaits an opportunity of a big-time fight.

Boxing Exhibition
Olympian John Joe Joyce is the star attraction this Friday night when a top Irish boxing selection will take on a star-studded Eastern European team in the South Court Hotel.
There will be five local boxers on the card with two-time Irish champion Mark McNamara boxing Polish middleweight champion Gromadzki Tomasz. McNamara has boxed for Ireland at four different levels from Youth to Senior and is currently sparring unbeaten professional boxer Alan Donnellan in preparation for the event. Polish national Kris Sikora now boxing out of the St Francis club will box at light heavyweight against Ukraine champion Orekhovskyy Fedir.
Local Munster champions Ger Griffin (Corpus Christi) and Derek Duhig (St. Francis) will kick the night off in a rematch of a top contest won by Griffin at the end of last season.
One of the more intriguing contests will see current Irish intermediate champion Jessie Lyons (St. Francis) facing up to Irish Junior champion Ciara Doyle from Wexford. The Irish side has been organised by St Francis coach Ken Moore and all eight are national champions.
“I got the call six weeks ago and was asked if I could put together a team of boxers good enough to take on this top European selection.
“When I saw the names involved I was a little taken back by the level of opposition would be travelling so I started making calls and got eight really talented guys to box for me,” said Moore.
“Each Irish lad is of top quality and to have two national senior champions in Con Sheehan and John Joe Joyce on the card is brilliant - Joyce was actually born in Limerick a fact I remind him of every chance I get!” said Moore.
“This is top show and anyone interested in boxing or just top quality sport should not miss it. Tickets are on sale and going fast. Limerick boxing is on a high at the moment - last season we won more Irish titles than ever before Andy Lee and Willie Casey are doing great things as professionals and this show is just another big thing to happen to Limerick boxing.”
Tickets for the night are €20 and can be got at the South Court Hotel and on www.ticketgroup.ie

Jerome O’Connell

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Casey promises a night to remember

LIMERICK pro boxer Willie Casey is to fight for the European Super Bantamweight title. And, the fight against Kiko Martinez for his European belt will take place at


Limerick’s University Sports Arena on Saturday, November 6.
The first-ever championship fight in Limerick will take place as part of the Hunky Dorys Fight Night which is being promoted by Brian Peters Promotions.
“I’m very proud to be a Limerick man today. I am honoured and I will train hard,” said Willie Casey at this Monday’s press conference in King John’s Castle in Limerick to announce details of the November fight which will be televised live on RTE.
“It makes sense to have this fight on in Limerick. It is only this time last year that I had my first fight in Limerick and I got great support for that. What better way to be back in Limerick again than to be fighting for a European title,” explained the married father of four.
Willie Casey has had his sights set on a European title fight since he extended his record to ten wins from ten bouts in early August.
The 28-year-old Southill man moved up to number nine in the Euro rankings following his last win over Italian Emiliano Salvini in an eight round super bantamweight contest when he headlined a Dolphil Promotions event in Dublin’s City-West Hotel Complex.
Willie Casey was in the National Stadium, Dublin last Saturday night to see Martinez’s latest win when he out-pointed Armenian Arsen Martirosyan to win the European super bantamweight title.
“It is going to be a 50-50 fight,” said Casey of his 12-round contest against the 24-year-old Spaniard.
“There are only 14 people ever in Ireland to have won it and no one from Limerick has done it,” said Willie Casey of the prospect of a European title.
“Hopefully, everything will go according to plan. I am very excited about it. To be honest I would rather it was on next week rather than waiting eight weeks for it. I’ve never been more excited about fighting than I have for this fight.”
A former Irish intermediate featherweight amateur champion Casey is a former member of Our Lady of St. Saviour Boxing Club.
Nicknamed the ‘Big Bang’ Casey’s management team consists of former Olympian and double European championship bronze medal winner Phil Sutcliffe and Don O’Leary.
Casey is hoping to inspire others to follow his lead.
“I want to show everyone what can be done, especially the people in disadvantaged areas in Limerick who get involved with drugs and gangs and trouble. Southill is in the papers a lot of the time for a lot of the wrong reasons like trouble and gangs. I am trying to bring something new to the area and the kids, to show them that they can go on and do something, if it’s not boxing, it could be soccer or anything at all. My hope is that they would follow my lead,” he explained.
Casey shot to fame in May when winning Sky TV’s Prizefighter Series and although he only made his pro debut in October 2008 he will bring a record of ten wins from ten bouts into the title fight.
“I am trying not to get carried away with all the press and media and everything. I am still the same Willie Casey as I was before I started out.
“I am still living in Southill and I am still a member of the Travelling Community and I never try to hide anything of myself or where I am from or who I am.”
Willie Casey’s opponent Kiko ‘La Sensacion’ Martinez is best known for his first round stoppage of Bernard Dunne in their 2007 title fight at Dublin’s Point Theatre.
“What happened to Bernard Dunne can happen to anyone, when you get hit in the right place at the right time you are going down,” said Casey.
He promises that the November fight is “going to be one to remember.”
“He might be unbeaten in Dublin, but he hasn’t fought in Limerick yet,” joked Casey.
“I’ll be looking to take some of that Munster spirit into the ring with me. I’m just so excited about this fight and to have a chance to win a European title right here in Limerick. I might be the underdog, but I’ve been an underdog since I turned professional and I’m sure the whole city will come out to support me. Not too many gave me a chance when I went out to Canada to fight the Canadian champ, but I knocked him out. Not too many people gave me a chance when I went into the Prizefighter, but I ended up winning that as well,” he said.
“I know all about Kiko, everyone in Ireland knows about him because of his win over Bernard Dunne and he is a big hitter, but they don’t call me the Big Bang for nothing either. I was at Kiko’s fight in Dublin on Saturday night and he’s an excellent fighter, but people haven’t seen the best of me yet. I’m still learning and improving in the gym every day. This is a fantastic opportunity for me and I’m determined to grab it with both hands.”
Tickets for the Hunky Dorys Fight Night will go on sale from 9am on Friday, October 1 from www.ticketmaster.ie or 0818 719300.

Jerome O’Connell

Monday, September 13, 2010

Willie Casey takes aim at Kiko Martinez

BIG TIME boxing is coming to town with Limerick’s own Willie Casey set to fight for the European super bantamweight title.
This lunch-time promoter Brian Peters will hold a press conference in King John’s Castle where Casey will be unveiled as the latest challenger to Spain’s Kiko Martinez.


On Saturday night Martinez out-pointed Armenian Arsen Martirosyan to win the European super-bantamweight title.
It is understood that the title fight will take place in the University Sports Arena on Saturday, November 6.
Willie Casey has had his sights set on a European title fight since he extended his record to ten wins from ten bouts in early August.
The 28-year-old Southill man has moved up to number nine in the Euro rankings following his last win over Italian Emiliano Salvini in an eight round super bantamweight contest when he headlined a Dolphil Promotions event in Dublin’s City-West Hotel Complex.
Willie Casey was in the National Stadium on Saturday night to see Martinez’s latest win and afterwards was confident that he could challenge the Spaniard.
“That’s the plan,” said Willie Casey.
“We are hoping we will get a shot at him (Martinez) soon. Hopefully it will be this year. I did not see anything there that would scare me. That’s the thing with me, I don’t fear anyone. Most of his opponents fear him (Martinez) and that is why he is beating them. I am hoping that boxing an Irish opponent in Ireland will give it that bit of excitement that was missing Saturday night and I think the people would want to see that fight. They know his style, they know my style. It would be a great fight to watch,” said the Limerick man.
“I am ranked number nine in Europe and that makes me eligible for a shot at the title. Who’d imagine after only 10 fights as a pro - not even two years yet - that I would be here now talking of a European title fight.
“Paulie Hyland is there as well and one of us will get a shot at it, but I think my fight would be the more exciting,” said the Southill man.
A former Irish intermediate featherweight champion Casey is a former member of Our Lady of St. Saviour Boxing Club.
Nicknamed the ‘Big Bang’ Casey’s management team consists of former Olympian and double European championship bronze medal winner Phil Sutcliffe and Don O’Leary.
A married father of four Willie Casey shot to fame in May when winning Sky TV’s Prizefighter Series. Casey only made his pro debut in October 2008 and brings a record of 10 wins from 10 bouts into the title fight.
His opponent Kiko ‘La Sensacion’ Martinez is best known for his first round stoppage of Bernard Dunne in their 2007 title fight in Dublin’s Point Theatre.
Twenty-four-year-old Martinez has won 23 of his 26 pro-fight since his debut in 2004.
Meanwhile, another of Limerick’s pro-boxers Andy Lee is back in the ring this weekend.
The 26-year-old Castleconnell middleweight fights Michael Walker at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago this Friday, September 17 in a ten-round contest.

JEROME O’CONNELL

McGahan’s men hope to extend winning run

MUNSTER will aim to extend their winning start in the Magners League to three games when Tony McGahan’s side host the holders, the Ospreys, at Thomond Park this Saturday night (8pm).
Gritty Munster, boosted by the second half introduction of internationals Ronan O’Gara, Donncha O’Callaghan and Tomas O’Leary, made it back-to-back wins in the league with a precious 16-13 success over Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Friday night.
Coach Tony McGahan said he had been impressed with his side’s mental strength as they maintained their fine start to the competition.
“What pleased me most was to come and win in what is a very difficult environment,” Tony McGahan said.
“We coughed up ten points in the space of a few minutes at the end of the first and then the start of the second half, so to recover from that says a lot of the mentality of this squad.”
Munster’s stand-in captain Denis Leamy added: “We dominated the first half and deserved to be further ahead.
“We didn’t turn our possession into points though, and then Edinburgh came out and scored from the crossfield kick.
“But we rolled up our sleeves and got back into the game and when they (the returning internationals) came on, they helped to revive us a bit in the last quarter.
“The Edinburgh defence was very good and we never really threatened their line, but when we went behind we stepped up again and worked very hard, got back up the pitch and into their faces and got the win.”
Meanwhile, on the club front holders Young Munster set up a mouth-watering Limerick Charity Cup final showdown with Shannon, thanks to their 24-17 semi-final victory over Garryowen at Tom Clifford Park on Saturday.
Former Garryowen player Willie Staunton kicked 14 points with the boot while a Young Munster replacement Matthew Costelloe and impressive number eight Shane Hassett crossed for Munsters’ two tries.
A decision on the date, venue and kick-off time for the decider was due to be made later today.
Young Munster’s Director of Rugby, Mike Prendergast said the victory provided his charges with valuable competitive games ahead of the start of the AIL, as well as an opportunity to retain the Cup.
“The good thing is that we have a Charity Cup final to look forward to and a Munster Senior Cup match with UL-Bohs’ to come and they are sure to be good competitive games. It is a good build-up,” Mike Prendergast said.
“Shannon have been an outstanding club and team for the past 15 years or more.
“They will be quite keen to get back at us because we beat them at the start of the season in the Charity Cup.
“They will have that in the back of their mind.
“They are a quality team with quality players.”

COLM KINSELLA

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Payne: ‘Our away form last season wasn’t good enough’

MUNSTER manager Shaun Payne has stressed the importance of the province winning regularly on the road this season in the Magners League in order to boost their prospects of making the top four play-offs.


Coach Tony McGahan’s high-flying Munster side face Edinburgh this Friday at Murrayfield in their first away fixture of the campaign - kick-off is at 7.05pm.
Munster travel to Scotland boosted by the return of international stars Ronan O’Gara, Tomas O’Leary and Donnacha O’Callaghan.
However, a number of other seasoned internationals are facing periods on the sidelines due to injury.
Team captain Paul O’Connell is expected to be out of action until Christmas due to a groin injury while it is hoped that Keith Earls will be available for selection for the opening rounds of the Heineken Cup next month after sustaining an ankle sprain. The 22-year-old is due to have a scan this week.
Irish hooker Jerry Flannery is ruled out with a calf problem at present although the management team is hopeful he will be back playing in two weeks time.
David Wallace’s pre-season training was limited by a back injury which is an on-going issue. However, the Munster management team hope to have him available for selection from Monday next.
Tom Gleeson and Declan Cusack are ruled out with groin injuries while Barry Murphy is troubled with a hamstring injury.
It is hoped that centre Lifeimi Mafi will be available for the big round three Magners League tie with the Ospreys at Thomond Park later this month. Mafi has resumed training.
And, James Coughlan is sidelined after suffering concussion in the pre-season tie with the Leicester Tigers. Despite the number of high-profile absentees from the trip to Scotland, Shaun Payne remains upbeat about the talent available for selection.
“On the injury front we’re quite positive at the moment with (Lifeimi) Mafi back and (Keith) Earls not being out for too long,” Shaun Payne said.
“I know Paulie (O’Connell) is a long-term injury, but I think we’re starting to look pretty good.
“Denis Leamy has been a massive positive coming back in for us.
“Donncha Ryan, as well, has recovered from his shoulder injury.
“Almost all of our front rowers are injury free and ready to go which is unheard of for most squads.
“Definitely our away form last season wasn’t good enough.
“First and foremost you have to win your home games. But if you want to be a semi-finalist you want to be picking up games away from home. Everything went with the home teams in the first week. This week is an opportunity to show ourselves away from home. It’s a massive game for us in terms of that.
“This time last season we had lost our first game against Glasgow. It was a very poor performance. We did poorly in the scrums and really there wasn’t much to be positive about.
“There is a lot to work on, but that is the norm. We’ve only had two pre-season games this season whereas normally we would have three.
“So it’s as if we are still in pre-season in a way, but we’re happy with the way it is turning out. The scrums are a massive positive.
“We have a lot of work to do in the lineouts. We turned over far too much ball in the first half last week. We settled in the second half and got into our stride and when we managed to string the phases together we had Aironi in trouble.”
While Munster opened their Magners League campaign with a four-try, bonus-point win over Italian newcomers Aironi Rugby at Musgrave Park, Edinburgh suffered a disappointing reverse at the hands of the Cardiff Blues.
Munster squad v Edinburgh: Wian du Preez, Marcus Horan, Damien Varley, Denis Fogarty, John Hayes, Tony Buckley, Donncha O’Callaghan, Billy Holland, Donnacha Ryan, Mick O’Driscoll, Ian Nagle, Alan Quinlan, Niall Ronan, Denis Leamy, Tommy O’Donnell, Peter O’Mahony, Peter Stringer, Tomas O’Leary, Duncan Williams, Paul Warwick, Ronan O’Gara, Sam Tuitupou, Johne Murphy, Danny Barnes, Doug Howlett, Ian Dowling, Felix Jones, Scott Deasy & Denis Hurley.

Mickey Cross
Limerick rugby enthusiasts have been saddened to learn of the passing of Mickey Cross, Hyde Road, who has died peacefully following a short illness at the age of 83.
An accomplished rugby player in his younger days Mickey Cross was the holder of four Munster Junior Cup medals,two of which he won with Richmond RFC and the remaining two with Young Munster.
The late Mr Cross was also a highly regarded rugby coach and was renowned for the work he did for more than 30 years with under-age teams from under-10s upwards at Young Munster. The popular rugby enthusiast remained a keen follower of rugby at all levels of the game throughout his life.

COLM KINSELLA

Hurling manager not featured on Board agenda

LIMERICK’S new senior hurling manager will not be appointed at next Tuesday’s September County Board meeting - the agenda for the monthly meeting does not include any reference to the senior hurling management position.
The Independent Appointments Committee continued their search in the past week when interviewing a number of candidates. While Paudie Fitzmaurice, Jim Woulfe and Damien Quigley are remaining tight-lipped it is understood that former inter-county players Gary Kirby, TJ Ryan, Ciaran Carey and Pat Heffernan were among those interviewed.
Aside from that quartet rumours persist linking Cork’s Donal O’Grady to the position, but the committee could yet opt to appoint a Limerick man to succeed Justin McCarthy.
The search for the new hurling manager now extends beyond two months.
And, it now looks most likely that the new management team won’t be in a position to watch any of the knock-out games in the senior or intermediate hurling championships.
Nine nominees were originally identified by Limerick clubs. Both John Allen and John Tuohy withdrew from the selection process leaving Dave Keane, Gary Kirby, Ciaran Carey, Leo O’Connor, TJ Ryan, Val Murnane and Justin McCarthy from the shortlist nominated by the clubs.
It now appears that some of this list have been eliminated from the process as the three-man committee reduce their options.
However it was within their remit to source a manager from outside of those nominated by the clubs and none of the names of these candidates have been made public.
The Independent Appointments Committee are looking to make a nomination for the position of Limerick senior hurling manager and their choice will then need to be ratified by a full County Board meeting which may yet require a special meeting to be called later this month.
It is understood that the new manager is to be offered a two or three-year term with an annual review.
The manager would appoint his coach, trainer and selectors in consultation with the Independent Appointments Committee.

Football manager
This week the quest to find a successor to Mickey Ned O’Sullivan, as Limerick senior football manager, is getting underway.
Six nominations have been submitted by the clubs of the county, however Football Committee officials also have the remit to source a manager from outside the shortlist.
John Galvin, Sean McAuliffe and Michael Sheehan have been handed the task of finding the new manager, who will have to be ratified by both the Football Committee and the County Board. It is understood that the trio were to meet with some of the nominees this week.
It appears that Liam Kearns is interested in a return as Limerick senior football manager. The man who guided the fortunes of the Limerick senior footballers from 1999 to 2005 is one of six nominations to succeed Mickey Ned O’Sullivan, who replaced Kearns in the autumn of 2005.
Since he departed Limerick Kearns spent two seasons in charge of Laois and at present has been linked to the vacant Galway position after the departure of Joe Kernan.
Despite not having been nominated by a Galway club for the vacant football manager’s job Kearns may still be added to the ticket if officers feel he could be a viable option.
Also in the running to replace Mickey Ned is former Clare senior football manager John Kennedy and former Tipperary senior football manager Tom McGlinchey.
Kerry native Kennedy was also nominated for the Limerick position back in 2005 when Mickey Ned O’Sullivan replaced Kearns. Cork native McGlinchey was also previously linked to the Limerick role when he was suggested as a replacement for O’Sullivan after the end of the Kerry man’s fourth season in charge.
The man who led Tipperary to a 2002 Munster final appearance was coach to the Ballylanders side that won the 2007 County SFC title.
McGlinchey coached Ballylanders for three seasons, but departed last winter. This year he was physical coach to the Smith O’Briens senior hurling team in Killaloe where former Irish rugby captain Keith Wood was also part of the management team.
The three remaining nominees are John Cummins, John Brudair and Maurice Horan.
Galbally native Cummins is a former Limerick footballer and in recent seasons has served as a selector with John Evans in the Tipperary senior football management.
Maurice Horan has also played with Limerick. He also played for his native Mayo and this season was Limerick under-21 manager and a selector with the senior team.
The sixth candidate is John Brudair. He has managed Dromcollogher-Broadford to back-to-back Limerick SFC titles.
At present Limerick are also seeking to find inter-county under-21/junior and minor management teams and perhaps some of those nominated for the senior role could be potential candidates for these roles.

John Galvin
THE International Rules dream could be over for Limerick’s John Galvin.
The inspirational Limerick football midfielder suffered an injury last weekend at a training session with Anthony Tohill’s Irish International Rules panel.
The Croom man appeared to land heavily during the Parnell Park session on Friday night and had to be helped from the field. The long-serving Limerick footballer was on crutches over the weekend.
Galvin went for an MRI scan this Monday and is expecting the results in the coming days. It is thought that Galvin suffered damage to his groin/pelvic area.
Both Galvin and his Limerick inter-county colleague Johnny McCarthy were included in the extended Irish panel for the forthcoming series against Australia. The first test will take place in Limerick on October 23.

Jerome O’Connell

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

O’Donovan returns to Munster

NIALL O’Donovan is to return to the Munster management set-up as manager of the province’s A team programme.
O’Donovan’s part-time management role will see him oversee Munster A’s British and Irish Cup campaign.


Last season’s British and Irish Cup team manager Mick Galwey has been appointed as squad advisor with the province’s senior team.
O’Donovan has enjoyed a distinguished coaching career.
As coach to Shannon O’Donovan led them to AIB All-Ireland League title wins in 1994, ‘95 and ‘96 and to a further title as the club’s Director of Rugby in 1997.
A widely acknowledged line-out and forwards expert, he was assistant coach to the Munster team for five years when they twice reached the Heineken Cup final. He joined the Ireland management team in December 2001 as forwards coach and the former Munster number eight continued in that role until 2008.
Munster will hope to build on their opening round bonus point win over Aironi Rugby when they travel to Murrayfield to take on Edinburgh this Friday. Kick-off is at 7.05pm and the game will be televised live on TG4.
Munster’s victory over Aironi last Saturday ended a four-game losing run in all competitions. The Munstermen have not won outside Ireland in the Magners League since a trip to the Llanelli Scarlets on September 19 last year.
Edinburgh’s only victory over Munster in their last seven meetings was a 12-7 win at Murrayfield in round six last season. Munster’s record at Murrayfield is an excellent one, with the two-time Magners League champions winning five of their six meetings with the Scots.
Meanwhile former Shannon and Munster star John Lacey has been appointed to the ERC Referee Panel for the Heineken Cup. Lacey, who as on duty at the IRB Junior World Championship in Argentina this summer, will take charge of Northampton Saints against Castres Olympique in round one of the Heineken Cup on Friday, October 8.
The former Shannon and Munster player scored four tries in six Heineken Cup appearances during the 1997-98 tournament.

Colm Kinsella

Could Galvin be ruled out for Irish team?

THE International Rules dream could be over for Limerick’s John Galvin - the Limerick football star suffered an injury at the weekend during a training session with Anthony Tohill’s Irish International Rules squad.
The Croom man appeared to land heavily during the Parnell Park session on Friday night and had to be helped from the field. The long-serving Limerick footballer was on crutches over the weekend.

Galvin went for an MRI scan this Monday and is expecting the results in the coming days. It is thought that Galvin suffered damage to his groin/pelvic area.
Both Galvin and his Limerick inter-county colleague Johnny McCarthy were included in the extended Irish panel for the forthcoming series against Australia. The first test will take place in Limerick on October 23.
Caherdavin’s Na Piarsaigh bid to reach back-to-back county senior hurling championship finals this Sunday. Although the Limerick city side dethroned three-in-a-row champions Adare in the quarter-final, they are still underdogs against Kilmallock this Sunday. The second of Sunday’s semi-final double-header in the Gaelic Grounds will have a 3.30pm start.
Getting the action underway at 2pm will be the semi-final clash between Knockainey and Emmets.
The meeting of Na Piarsaigh and Kilmallock will be a clash between former Clare senior hurling management colleagues, Tony Considine and Sean Stack - who served together as selectors with Ger Loughnane in 1999. Considine is manager of Kilmallock while Stack is coach to the Timmy O’Connor managed Na Piarsaigh.
Last season Na Piarsaigh reached their first ever county senior hurling final, but fell to a disappointing 17-point defeat to Adare. However, they avenged that defeat in last month’s quarter-final with a sparkling 4-12 to 2-15 over the champions.
The other semi-final will be between surprise packets Knockainey and south Limerick divisional side Emmets. In their quarter-final Emmets saw off the challenge of Murroe-Boher with a 2-23 to 3-13 win.
Knockainey booked their place in their second ever semi-final with a shock win over Patrickswell.
While Limerick city side Na Piarsaigh chase hurling progression this weekend another city side Monaleen are on the football trail.
Monaleen play Fr. Casey’s of Abbeyfeale this Sunday evening (6pm) in Kilmallock in the quarter-final of the Limerick’s Live 95FM sponsored county senior football championship. Although Monaleen were defeated by city rivals St. Patrick’s in the final group game they progressed to the knock-out stages on scoring difference. The west Limerick side are bidding to return to the final which they lost last season to Drom-Broadford.
The second quarter-final takes place on Friday evening (6pm) in Kilmallock and brings together Ballylanders and Ballysteen for a first ever championship clash. Ballysteen fell to Drom-Broadford in the semi-finals last season while Ballylanders are bidding to return to the final for the first time since 2007.
Meanwhile in the intermediate football championship Mungret play Galbally in the quarter-final on Saturday (6pm) in Bruff.
Mungret only qualified for the knockout stages with a late surge.
After losing the opening two rounds of the group stages they regrouped to reach the quarter-final when finishing level on points with Na Piarsaigh, but Mungret advanced by virtue of winning the head-to-head battle.

Jerome O’Connell