We are a week into Munster Championship Lent. The 40 days and 40 nights before the start of the Munster SHC on May 12 commenced last Tuesday.
The abstinence will be rewarded with a bounty of hurling in Páirc Uí Chaoimh and Walsh Park that May 12 afternoon but who are the five managers giving up? Who do they believe will reward them when the Championship rises again next month? Here’s our second guesses:
Donal Tuohy; Patrick O’Connor, David McInerney, Jack Browne; Seadna Morey, Conor Cleary, Jamie Shanahan; Colm Galvin, David Fitzgerald; Peter Duggan, Tony Kelly, David Reidy; Padraic Collins, John Conlon, Shane O’Donnell.
Clare must address their discipline issue before they head to Waterford on May 12. Shane Golden looks set to partner Colm Galvin in midfield for the summer and the prospect of Shane O’Donnell buzzing around a forceful duo like Aron Shanagher, whose injury issues have cleared, and John Conlon is appetising. But it’s in defence where Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor must ask themselves if their trusted behave as well as perform.
Anthony Nash; Seán O’Donoghue, Damien Cahalane, Colm Spillane; Christopher Joyce, Eoin Cadogan, Mark Coleman; Bill Cooper, Darragh Fitzgibbon; Daniel Kearney, Conor Lehane, Luke Meade; Shane Kingston, Seamus Harnedy, Patrick Horgan.
Colm Spillane’s long-term injury will mean at least one personnel switch in the backs. Whether that will be filled by Tim O’Mahony as he moves to centre-back and somebody slots into the full-back line remains to be seen. Stephen McDonnell may take Spillane’s spot as Eoin Cadogan makes way for O’Mahony. Potential suspension clouds doubt around Seamus Harnedy’s availability. Either way, Alan Cadogan should make a welcome return. Aidan Walsh provides another primary ball-winner with Luke Meade possibly losing out.
Nickie Quaid; Richie English, Mike Casey, Seán Finn; Diarmuid Byrnes, Declan Hannon (c), Dan Morrissey; Darragh O’Donovan, Cian Lynch; Gearóid Hegarty, Kyle Hayes, Tom Morrissey; Aaron Gillane, Seamus Flanagan, Graeme Mulcahy.
Tom Condon has had a fine spring and is possibly Limerick’s best performer behind Aaron Gillane. As much as Mike Casey should push him, Condon has earned his starting place. Limerick don’t commence their provincial campaign until May 19, which means seven weeks will have passed by since the Division 1 final win over Waterford.
Pretty much every other spot is locked in but Peter Casey looks like he is ahead of Seamus Flanagan at the moment and Shane Dowling may squeeze himself into a spot. It’s not for lack of competition that John Kiely will likely go with so many of last year’s team: they are simply responding to those chasing them for starting jerseys.
Brian Hogan; Seán O’Brien, Seamus Kennedy, Donagh Maher; Joe O’Dwyer, Pádraic Maher, Brendan Maher; Ronan Maher, Cathal Barrett; Dan McCormack, Patrick Maher, Billy McCarthy, Seamus Callanan, Jason Forde, John McGrath.
The side Liam Sheedy starts in Páirc Uí Chaoimh next month should show plenty of changes from the 2018 team sheet above. Brian Hogan faces stiff opposition from Paul Maher and it looks set to be an entirely new full-back line as Cathal Barrett moves back, likely to join James Barry plus one. The Maher brothers Pádraic and Ronan are certs but need some speed to assist them in the half-backs.
Michael Breen’s form has returned and he will return to midfield and Noel McGrath will be back too. Sheedy will want Dan McCormack back and he would love to have Billy McCarthy who is sidelined for the foreseeable future. Jake Morris and Niall O’Meara could inject a much-needed burst into the forward line.
Ian O’Regan; Ian Kenny, Conor Gleeson, Noel Connors; Michael Walsh, Austin Gleeson, Philip Mahony; Jamie Barron, Pauric Mahony; Kevin Moran, Colin Dunford, Jake Dillon; Brian O’Halloran, Tom Devine, Tommy Ryan.
Ian O’Regan is now Waterford goalkeeping coach so he’s definitely out as is Tom Devine and Jake Dillon who have stepped away for the time being. Conor Gleeson may not be rushed back but then the Fives brothers Darragh and Shane have been out for awhile too while Calum Lyons has had a fine spring. Tadhg de Búrca should be back at the heart of the rearguard.
The Bennett brothers are all but definites for inclusion and along with Mikey Kearney and Peter Hogan they could mean Páraic Fanning goes with a completely new forward line with the exception of Pauric Mahony (that’s if he continues with Kevin Moran at wing-back and Tommy Ryan doesn’t make the first 15).