So you have to be accommodating.
Maurice Horan calls them unique cases but he has an abundance to deal with.
Fine-tuning Limerick’s preparations for Sunday’s Munster SFC quarter-final is tricky enough without having to share his players with other sporting bodies. Yet the Limerick boss does not complain.
Paul Kinnerk combines a midfield role with a position as coach to the Clare senior hurlers. Attacker Seamus O’Carroll celebrated claiming the All-Ireland Handball Senior Singlestitle in Williamstown in Galway last weekend. Leading lights John Galvin and Stephen Kelly have pursued basketball and rugby careers respectively in recent years, and others having juggled hurling commitments, Horan has grown accustomed to it.
“We’ve so many unique cases. You look at Paul Kinnerk, he’s done really well for us. Everybody was curious to see how that was going to work out. He was injured for the first part of the league, but was quite good and solid after that, especially in an area like midfield which was very difficult for us with the injuries we weresuffering.
“To be an inter-county football and trainer at 25 is unbelievable and a great achievement by him. I don’t really talk to Davy [Fitzgerald] about it, Paul just liaises back between the two of us and it works very well.
“Seamus O’Carroll won an All-Ireland handball championship last weekend, he’s up there with the best like Paul Brady from Cavan. You just have to balance it. The main thing you’re avoiding is injury from fatigue. We’re lucky to have him. You could try to issue an ultimatum to him but he could easily go for the handball. You just have to manage it.
“It’s just the way it is in Limerick.
So I think you have to be accommodating. There is a mentality in Limerick where guys have access to a wide range of sports. For instance there’s no way John Galvin is ever going to give up basketball. Stephen Kelly has played rugby at a very high level. I think it’s possible if it’s managed right and the two management teams are co-operating. As long as the player knows the line they can’t cross in terms of physical preparation.”
The spring did not prove prosperous for Limerick as their attempts to clamber out of the basement division proved fruitless. Yet Horan believes the competitive nature of Division 4 is often overlooked.
“It was a tough campaign because we didn’t get promoted. We played some bad football in the middle of the league and got punished as a result. We felt we were better than that. People don’t realise how cut-throat it is though. Take Kilkenny out, there’s no such thing as an easy game. I think Division 4 and 3 are very similar. We beat teams last year in Division 3 and then lost to them in Division 4 this year. It’s hard to quantify it as the league is getting very balanced.”
Yet if there’s one thing Limerick have proven in recent years, it is that they can overcome league struggles to produce quality championship performances. The fact the provincial draw this year has been kind to them is another boost.
“Ourselves, Waterford and Clare are all of the same view with Cork and Kerry on the other side. It’d be great if Limerick made it but we know Waterford are going to be trying to turn us over on Sunday in the Gaelic Grounds. We’ve had a few good battles with them in recent years.
“It’s 3-3 since I’ve been involved as a selector and manager. We’ve beaten each other away as well. It’s championship football that our players look forward to.”