Limerick finalise U-21 hurling panel with double All Ireland winner absent

by Jerome O’Connell Limerick Leader Sport

Limerick finalise U-21 hurling panel with double All Ireland winner absent
Two time All Ireland U-21 winner Eoghan McNamara

TWO time All Ireland U-21 winner Eoghan McNamara isn’t part of the Limerick plans for the 2018 Munster U-21 Hurling Championship.

Limerick have a 37 strong panel preparing for the May 7 Bank Holiday Monday provincial quarter final against Clare in Cusack Park Ennis. The 5.45pm fixture will be live on TG4.

Doon goalkeeper Eoghan McNamara didn’t join up with the inter-county panel this season for what would have been his fourth year on the panel. It is understood that the Trinity College student is going abroad in the coming weeks.

Injury to Peter Casey will rob Limerick of another two time All Ireland U-21 winner for tie with Clare.

The winner will advance to a June 21 with Tipperary in Semple Stadium in Thurles.

Fifteen members of the Limerick panel remain from last year’s All Ireland winning panel – Casey and Seamus Flanagan both hold two All Ireland U-21 medals – 2015 and 2017. The duo are among seven of the U-21 panel that are part of John Kiely’s senior panel preparing for the May 20 start to the Munster SHC – Casey, Flanagan, Paddy O’Loughlin, Oisin O’Reilly, Barry Murphy, Kyle Hayes and William O’Meara.

Kyle Hayes is the new 2018 U-21 captain with Casey as vice-captain – the duo are the only U-21 panel members with senior inter-county championship experience.

Limerick are again managed by Pat Donnelly with Mikey Kiely, Maurice O’Brien, Brian Foley joined by new selector Liam Reale.

In total 10 players that saw action in last year’s winning run are still involved. Limerick beat Tipperary, Clare, Cork, Galway and Kilkenny to lift the James Nowlan Cup in Thurles.

A total of 18 different clubs are represented in the 37 strong Limerick U-21 panel with Kilmallock, Na Piarsaigh, Ahane and Murroe-Boher all with four representatives.

Three years ago Limerick played in the Munster minor final.

Those Limerick minors were managed by Leo O’Connor and coached by Anthony Daly – current U-21 manager Pat Donnelly and current U-21 selector Brian Foley were 2015 minor selectors.

That U-18 side lost to Cork in round one but then regrouped to beat Waterford in a play-off and reversed the Cork result in the semi final. In the Munster MHC, Tipperary scored four late points to deny Limerick a hat-trick of minor crowns; 0-20 to 0-17 in Thurles. In the All Ireland quarter final, Limerick lost to eventual champions Galway.

Seven of team that started the 2015 Munster MHC final loss are not involved in the current 37 man U-21 panel – three of the seven McNamara, Jack O’Grady and Conor McSweeney were U-21 winners last season but are not involved this year for varying reasons.

PANEL: Ciaran Barry, Colum Carroll, Daniel Minehan, Adam O’Brien (all Ahane); Anthony Barrett, Micheal Houlihan, Paddy O’Loughlin, Oisin O’Reilly (all Kilmallock); Jack Casey, Finn Hourigan, Aaron Kennedy, Brian Timmons (all Murroe-Boher); Conor Boylan, Jerome Boylan, Peter Casey, Thomas Grimes (all Na Piarsaigh), Darren Golden O’Mahoney, Mark O’Dwyer, Jamie Power (all Monaleen); Josh Adams, Luke Doran (both Ballybrown); Brian McPartland, Barry Murphy (both Doon); Kyle Hayes, Darren O’Connell (both Kildimo-Pallaskenry); John Flynn, Jason Gillane (both Patrickswell); Brian Nash, Brian Ryan (both South Liberties); Mike Mackey (Adare), William O’Meara (Askeaton), Seamus Flanagan (Feohanagh), Conor O’Grady (Hospital-Herbertstown), Brian O’Grady (Kilteely-Dromkeen), Paudie Ahern (Killeedy), Eoghan Mulcahy (Mungret), Kevin Howard (Old Christians).