Ryan hopes to make return visit to Leeside

In 1976, Páirc Uí Chaoimh hosted its first Munster senior and minor hurling double-header.

Ryan hopes to make return visit to Leeside

In just a few weeks’ time, July 13, it’s about to close its doors as it gets ready for a multi-million euro revamp and once again Páirc Uí Chaoimh is the venue for the Munster finals. With the senior side already qualified for that July date, hoping to make it another double event for the Shannonsiders is minor manager, Brian Ryan.

“In 1976, Eamon Cregan [current minor selector] played in the senior final [lost to Cork] and I played in the minor final [lost to Tipperary]. It would be nice to get back there again,” he said.

To get there, Limerick will first have to get past Cork this evening in the Gaelic Grounds (7pm) and adding to the parallels, lining out at full-forward for Limerick will be Ryan’s son, Brian Ryan Jnr.

“Brian is one of two 16-year-olds we have in the team, the other is Conor Boylan. The last year a 16-year-old can play minor, that rule is changed which I think is lamentable and very wrong.

“We also have seven 17-year-olds and the balance are 18, so we’re quite a young team. I know Cork have 14 18-year-olds starting. We have only nine, even if we have a lot of strong players from last year.”

There’s the rub, however. While Cork are the older side, Limerick are by far the more experienced, a fact not lost on Cork manager Denis Ring.

“We’re going into it in a nice way, huge pressure on the Limerick team given they have 10 that actually played against Galway in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final when they went out on that terrible Hawk-Eye decision [valid point disallowed].”

He added: “They’re defending Munster champions. They’re the favourites. Limerick are 6/4 to win Munster, we’re 3/1 and that tells its own story.

“It’s a major challenge, in the Gaelic Grounds especially, and they have a lot of big-game experience in their team, including the Árdscoil Rís contingent. “A lot of experience, but having said that, we have great time for our players and would be very happy with the commitment they’ve given. We’re relishing the challenge of going up there and taking them on in the Gaelic Grounds.”

Ryan, however, rejects suggestions that Limerick are under pressure.

“I wouldn’t say so, no. Last year is history. Young lads move on fast, don’t dwell in the past. From our point of view, it’s another game. We’ve played Tipperary, now face Cork at home and we’re looking forward to that.

“Unfortunately we’ve suffered a few injuries in the last 10 days. Our two midfielders are gone, Cian O’Brien gone for the year, a cruciate ligament diagnosed, Robbie Hanley gone for this game at least, so we’ve had to regroup, see what we can do.

“But favourites? We don’t look at it that way. We regard this as a very capable, competent Cork side and if we’re not right, we can be caught on the night. We can’t afford any complacency.”

Exams have played havoc with preparations. Both teams had 11 panellists doing the Leaving Cert while club games meant Denis Ring was without 14 of his panel last weekend. Still, no excuses he says. It’s a last chance in what is a knockout game and Cork are ready.

“Absolutely. There’s a huge prize for both teams, win and you’re hurling till August, regardless of the result in the Munster final.”

LIMERICK: E McNamara; S Finn, P O’Loughlin, J Porter; A La Touche Cosgrave, R Lynch, L Lyons; T Grimes, C Ryan; S Flanagan, B Nash, C Lynch (c); P Casey, T Morrissey, C Fitzgerald.

Subs: C Hedderman, D Fanning, C Byrnes, R Hanley, E Doyle, E Costelloe, A Gillane, B Ryan, C Boylan.

CORK: P Collins (c); C Walsh, S Bourke, S O’Brien; D Browne, A O’Callaghan, O Dempsey; S O’Donoghue, D Meaney; L Meade, D Lee, S Kingston; D Casey, S Hayes, E Keniry.

Subs: D O’Connell, D Dooling, S Smyth, J Good, T O’Connor, E O’Connell, M Dolan, M O’Halloran, J Looney.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.