UL boss: Experience should help against Kerry

Despite the cold snap playing havoc with the preparations of teams throughout the country, UL hurling manager Ger Cunningham is hopeful that his side will be in good shape for their Waterford Crystal Cup preliminary round clash with Kerry in Tralee on Sunday (throw-in 2pm).

Despite the cold snap playing havoc with the preparations of teams throughout the country, UL hurling manager Ger Cunningham is hopeful that his side will be in good shape for their Waterford Crystal Cup preliminary round clash with Kerry in Tralee on Sunday (throw-in 2pm).

UL, last year's beaten Fitzgibbon Cup finalists, are boosted by the presence of a number of inter-county players and Cunningham feels that their experience will come to the fore this weekend, regardless of the poor weather.

"A lot of our players would be from up the country so they were snowed in and the Kilkenny boys couldn't travel so preparations have been disrupted," he told Radio Kerry.

"We have only met once in the last two to three weeks. But they are young lads and they are still fit so we are not panicking too much.

"We have a good scattering of inter-county (players). I suppose Seamus Hickey from Limerick would be almost a household name now.

"Seamus would be a rising young star. He was Young Hurler of the Year a few years ago."

Along with Hickey, Cunningham can call on a large contingent from Offaly and players too from last year's beaten All-Ireland SHC finalists Tipperary.

"We have four of the Offaly senior team - Brian Carroll, Shane Dooley, Dylan Hayden and Michael Verney. James Dempsey is the Offaly sub goalkeeper, who is between the posts for us.

"We have a few Kilkenny Under-21s thrown in there of last year's team that Clare beat in the All-Ireland final.

"We have three of the Tipperary senior panel that were beaten in the All-Ireland final last year - John Devane, Willie Ryan and Paddy Stapleton, who played corner back in that final."

Sunday's game will be new manager John Meyler's first chance to see his Kerry players in competitive action. The winners of the opening round tie will face Limerick IT in the quarter-finals on Sunday week.

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