Foley could be set for dramatic Limerick return

MARK FOLEY could be on the verge of a sensational return to the Limerick senior hurling panel.

The county’s most ‘capped’ championship hurler, with 47 appearances, has not yet linked up with Donal O’Grady’s squad but is understood to be working on an individual training programme.

Foley, 35, has captained the Limerick senior hurlers in two separate spells but did not feature during the ill-fated 2010 campaign, following the bitter dispute with former boss Justin McCarthy which exploded in late 2009.

However, McCarthy’s departure and the arrival of O’Grady opened up the possibility of a return for Foley, who last played championship hurling for Limerick against Tipperary in the 2009 All-Ireland SHC semi-final.

Sources close to the camp have confirmed that other long-serving stars Donie Ryan and Mike O’Brien are involved with O’Grady and it is believed that the door remains open to Adare clubman Foley.

O’Grady, meanwhile, has been busy preparing for the start of next month’s National Hurling League and within the last nine days, Limerick have played three challenge matches, against Kerry, UCC and Wexford.

Limerick’s latest workout was against Colm Bonnar’s Model County on Sunday in Mallow which ended in a 2-18 to 3-11 victory for the Shannonsiders.

O’Grady was boosted by the displays of dual stars Stephen Lucey at full-back and James Ryan, who scored three points, in the half-forward line.

Both players did not line out for the hurlers in 2010 following the spat with McCarthy and instead decided to concentrate exclusively on football.

Na Piarsaigh teenager Kevin Downes,19, has been making waves early in the New Year and was a key player for Ard Scoil Ris in their march to Harty Cup glory last year.

O’Grady is very much in the mood to experiment and has promised all potential Limerick players that they will be handed the chance to impress.

O’Grady is keeping a tight lid on the nature of his pre-season preparations as a quiet expectation grows in Limerick that the Shannonsiders will re-emerge as a serious hurling force under the former Cork All-Ireland winning boss.

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