O’Brien breaks ground by rejoining Limerick panel

James O'Brien, who was among the players to withdraw from the Limerick hurling panel late last year, has become the first of those players to rejoin Justin McCarthy's squad.

Bruree forward O'Brien trained with the current Limerick panel last night, and there remains hope that a number of others may follow suit.

The player unrest over McCarthy's management of the Shannonsiders saw a raft of 2009 panel members withdraw their services.

They made their feelings known publicly on January 19; releasing a lengthy statement insisting they 'will not play for Limerick while the current management are in place.'

The statement was signed by 24 players, including O'Brien who was used mostly as a substitute during Limerick's run through to last year's All-Ireland semi-finals.

Commenting on O'Brien's return, Limerick County Secretary Mike O'Riordan told the Limerick Leader: "Basically we are hopeful that even more players will come back.

"The door is still firmly open for players to return to the panel and we hope they will."

The Limerick Board are due to meet next Tuesday in Claughaun, with the ongoing hurling row still overshadowing events on the pitch.

The under-fire McCarthy has fielded a young and inexperienced side for Limerick's opening two National Hurling League games, which resulted in defeats to Galway (1-18 to 1-11) and Cork (2-21 to 1-14).

Adding to McCarthy's woes, wing back Mike Carr sustained a knee injury in last Saturday's loss to Cork and is set to be sidelined for the next couple of weeks.

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