Fitzgerald out for Limerick’s first Div 1 season

CONOR FITZGERALD is to miss Limerick’s historic Allianz NFL Division One campaign.

Fitzgerald is suffering from a badly torn groin which rules him out of the Shannonsider’s first season in the top flight.

Fitzgerald is one of six players unavailable for Limerick’s first competitive outing of 2004, against Waterford in the McGrath Cup semi-final in Ardmore on Sunday (2pm).

John Gavin, Stephen Lavin, Michael Reidy, and Brian Begley are all on the injured list, while John Quane is away on honeymoon.

Niall Curran, Waterford’s footballer of the year in 2002 and 2003, has confirmed his availability for the coming season and is named at right full forward for Sunday’s clash.

Curran caused a sensation in 2002 when he announced his retirement from inter county football at the age of 25, but the fact that Curran’s uncle, former county senior hurling goalkeeper Pat Curran, is a selector is considered a key element in his return.

The team includes five from last year’s historic Munster U21 final victory over Kerry including the skipper Niall Hennessy who is named at right half back.

The other four are defenders John Hurney and Edmond Rockett, wing forward Liam O’Lionain who will be making his senior debut, and full forward Shane Walsh.

Champions Tipperary expect to be at full strength for Sunday’s McGrath Cup semi-final against Clare in Clonmel (2pm).

Laois-born Andy Shortall who replaced Tom McGlinchey as coach, reports no injuries ahead of tonight’s team announcement. The Premier County defeated Sunday’s opponents after extra time in Miltown-Malbay to win the title last year.

Clare however are not so fortunate. David O’Sullivan has a groin injury which rules him out for six weeks, Donal O’Sullivan is abroad on holidays while International Rules player Odran O’Dwyer (leg) is also a concern.

Team coach John Kennedy said he is unlikely to start the latter.

“We have a few flu victims but I expect them to be fit to play,” he added.

Kennedy will name his team tonight, but two newcomers to the panel, Joe Dowling and David Nealon, won’t be included due to injury.

WATERFORD (SF v Limerick): P. Houlihan (St. Saviours); J. Hurney (Ballinacourty). K. O’Keeffe (Clashmore), T. Dunphy (Gaultier); N. Hennessy (Ardmore), E. Rockett (Portlaw), P. Fitzgerald (Ballyduff Lower); A. Hubbard (Newtown). W. Kavanagh (De La Salle); C. Watt (Dunhill), AN Other, L. O’Lionain (Ring); N. Curran (Stradbally), S. Walsh (Nire), S. Barron (Clashmore).

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