Kevin Daly March 5, 2018 159 Views

It has become one of hurling’s clichés in recent times that promotion to Division 1A is crucial for Limerick. That may not be necessarily 100% accurate given the Shannonsiders 2013/14 form. However, Sunday’s clash with Galway is more important than just promotion.

This Sunday John Kiely’s men travel to Pearse Stadium Galway, and do so with some fine displays put down to now. Sunday’s game will see one of the two sides promoted.

Allianz Hurling League Division 1B Gaelic Grounds, Limerick 17/2/2018 Limerick v Dublin Limerick’s John Kiely Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan

All-Ireland champions Galway are now in their second season of life in 1B, for Limerick however this time is much longer. Limerick have been hurling in the second tier since being relegated in 2010.

The Treaty’s participation hasn’t been without controversy of course, relegation came mainly due to a strike by the Limerick hurling panel in 2010 due to unhappiness with manager Justin McCarthy.

The controversy continued after Limerick successfully gained promotion from Division 2 in 2011 only for the league format to be changed forcing them into Division 1B.

Since then the Shannonsiders have failed to escape the second tier of hurling six times, narrowly on most occasions.

The effects of Division 1B aren’t all that drastic as has been seen in the past number of seasons, though most counties would prefer to be operating at the top level.

With that said, promotion is not the most important aspect of Sunday’s game for this young Limerick side.

What makes Sunday’s game crucial for John Kiely’s men is that it’s the first test of their mettle. This is a game that on form Limerick should win, and their supporters are longing them to win.

We’ve seen many of this Limerick side win Munster minor titles, Harty Cups, Fitzgibbon Cups, Munster club titles, All-Ireland club titles and of course two u21 All-Irelands.

There is no shortage of talent in Limerick that’s, for certain. The Na Piarsaigh contingent will be a loss certainly but they’ve been missing in every game so far.

Even without there Na Piarsaigh men, Limerick should be fancying themselves to win this game, but they have to back it up.

Galway are yet to show much of the form that made them the unstoppable force they were in 2017 and are instead progressing slowly after a long winter. This is a fine time to play them.

The common worry in Limerick is that the recent All-Ireland u21 successes will fade in the same manner of their famous three-in-a-row winning sides of the early 00’s.

The young talent in the Treaty county have proven themselves to be winners, however as a senior side they will be eager to achieve success.

The momentum that a victory this Sunday could set Limerick up for the summer and confirm to themselves that they are ready to hit the big time.

A failure to win this Sunday would leave Limerick in the exact same situation they’ve been in for the past seven years.

Hurling is a far more exciting place with Limerick dining at the top-table, this clash is their first chance to regain their seat with hurling’s elite.