Seamus Hickey, who yesterday retired after a 13-year inter-county career, is expected to be the sole departure from Limerick’s All-Ireland-winning panel.
Richie McCarthy’s cruciate ligament injury, sustained in early September, will keep him sidelined for the first half of 2019, but the 31-year old Limerick defender is not believed to be considering inter-county retirement.
From Limerick’s All-Ireland final match-day 26, only Hickey, McCarthy, and Tom Condon are aged 30 or older.
Hickey (31) did not see game-time on the afternoon of that All-Ireland final win over Galway, making just three championship appearances last summer.
Full-back against Tipperary in the opening game of the provincial round-robin, was his sole start of the campaign. The Murroe-Boher clubman was used off the bench during the All-Ireland preliminary quarter-final and semi-final victories over Carlow and Cork respectively.
Having joined the Treaty set-up in 2006, Hickey, who is the current Gaelic Players Association chairman, won Young Hurler of the Year in 2007 as Limerick reached the All-Ireland decider. He pocketed a Munster medal in 2013 and was All-Star corner-back at the end of the following season.
2018 has been a busy year for him away from hurling with his wife Ellen giving birth to twin boys in March.
“I have now decided to step away from the Limerick senior hurling panel. I am eternally grateful to my club Murroe Boher, to the GPA for their incredible support and guidance, to the exceptional teammates I’ve had, the inspiring managers, the perennially selfless backroom teams, the successes, the failures and everything I have learned along the way.
“It was all made possible by the phenomenal support I receive constantly from my extraordinary wife and children, my parents and my family. They have given so much of themselves so that I could live my dream. My dream off the field has now grown bigger than the one on it and I look forward to being the very best husband, father, brother, and son I can be.”
His club Murroe-Boher said Hickey “brought great pride to our club and has been a tremendous role model for our club, giving great guidance and leadership to our young players”.
John Kiely’s Limerick begin their 2019 season on Friday week next, welcoming Tipperary to the Gaelic Grounds (7.30pm) for the opening round of the Munster senior hurling league.