O'Sullivan to captain much-changed Limerick

Kilmallock clubman Bryan O'Sullivan will captain a depleted Limerick team for their National Hurling League opener against Galway in Kilmallock on Sunday (throw-in 2.30pm).

Kilmallock clubman Bryan O'Sullivan will captain a depleted Limerick team for their National Hurling League opener against Galway in Kilmallock on Sunday (throw-in 2.30pm).

With the vast majority of last year's panel having withdrawn their services or been dropped by embattled manager Justin McCarthy, the Shannonsiders will open their Division 1 campaign with a mostly inexperienced line-up.

Goalkeeper Timmy Houlihan, who captained Limerick to All-Ireland Under-21 glory in 2001, became the latest player to withdraw from the current panel, when he pulled out last Friday.

Only forwards Paul Browne and Paudie McNamara survive from the side that started last August's 6-19 to 2-7 All-Ireland semi-final humbling at the hands of Tipperary.

New skipper O'Sullivan, who starts on the right wing, and right corner forward Graeme Mulcahy also remain from the 2009 panel.

O'Sullivan was appointed captain of the Limerick Under-21s last year and played for UCC against Limerick in the Waterford Crystal Cup recently.

McCarthy's men did lose out to UCC that day but they showed signs of an improvement when going down to Clare in a recent challenge match - 1-22 to 0-20.

Galway manager John McIntyre said that his opposite number has assembled "a squad of very capable, young players" and that the Tribesmen "cannot afford to take them for granted".

"We have to make sure our players approach the game in the proper frame of mind and not be focusing in on what has been going on in Limerick," he said.

"Everyone is talking about Limerick's internal problems, but the reality is that we still have to go down there and beat them."

LIMERICK (NHL v Galway) - T Flynn; D Lynch, D Kenny, S O'Neill; L O'Dwyer, A Brennan, C King; N Quaid, P Browne; B O'Sullivan (capt), A Owens, C Mullane; G Mulcahy, P McNamara, A O'Connor.

Substitutes: B Hennessy, K O'Rourke, M Carr, D Madden, S O'Connell, T O'Brien, C Hayes, P Harty, P Russell.

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