Preview: Allianz Hurling League Final:
Sunday March 31
Allianz Hurling League Division One Final
Limerick v Waterford, Croke Park, 2pm
This attractive encounter promises to be interesting.
Limerick are motoring smoothly finding ways to survive and thrive in matches. Waterford endured some difficult moments against Galway initially, but responded to win in impressive fashion.
That the victory was coated in character merely added to the sense of satisfaction. Paraic Fanning’s team have won their last three matches against Galway (twice) and Clare with admirable composure.
Established players are gradually being re-introduced to the inter-county arena so Waterford are busy preparing for an intriguing summer.
Before then there is the matter of a national decider at GAA headquarters against the Liam MacCarthy Cup holders.
John Kiely’s organised approach helped steer Limerick to the ultimate honour in 2018, but this spring was about making a welcome return to Division 1A action.
Unsurprisingly Limerick have relished the fact that important games are arriving thick and fast.
In Nowlan Park last Sunday Seamus Flanagan announced his arrival into the fray with the decisive goal following splendid work by Diarmaid Byrnes and Cian Lynch.
Sean Finn’s full back displays have also been noteworthy, while Graeme Mulcahy continues to occupy a hugely significant role.
With Jamie Barron supplying the drive from centrefield, Stephen Bennett and Pauric Mahony scoring heavily, Austin Gleeson capable of classy moments, and Stephen O’Keeffe a proven goalkeeper Waterford have plenty of reasons to feel good about themselves.
Waterford, though, know that Limerick can currently be classed as the most demanding assignment available.
LIMERICK: Nickie Quaid; Tom Condon, Sean Finn, Richie English; Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon, Dan Morrissey; Cian Lynch, Darragh O’Donovan; Gearoid Hegarty, Kyle Hayes, Tom Morrissey; Aaron Gillane, Peter Casey, Graeme Mulcahy.
WATERFORD: Stephen O’Keeffe; Shane McNulty, Calum Lyons, Noel Connors; Philip Mahony, Tadhg de Burca, Kevin Moran; Jamie Barron, Austin Gleeson; Mikey Kearney, Michael Walsh, Pauric Mahony; Peter Hogan, Stephen Bennett, Shane Bennett.