This evening’s meeting of the Limerick County Board is expected to mark the start of the search for a replacement for TJ Ryan, with the Garryspillane clubman all but confirming his departure as Limerick senior hurling manager after Saturday night’s qualifier defeat to Clare.
There is no shortage of likely candidates to replace Ryan. John Kiely steered the county’s U21s to an All- Ireland title last year and was widely expected to replace John Allen as manager when the Corkman stepped down ahead of the 2014 season.
However, Kiely is in the middle of the current U21 campaign - Limerick face Waterford in the Munster semi-final in that grade tomorrow night in Walsh Park - and may wish to focus on that task until the end of the campaign.
Irish Examiner columnist Anthony Daly, a former intercounty manager with his native Clare and Dublin, is involved in the Limerick system already, with the county minors, and may also come into the reckoning.
As with Kiely, however, Daly’s Limerick minors are still involved in this year’s championship, playing Wexford on Sunday week in the qualifiers.
Another obvious candidate within the county is Shane O’Neill, who did such an impressive job as manager of Na Piarsaigh when, earlier this year, the city club became the first outfit from Limerick to win the All-Ireland senior club hurling title.
Meanwhile, Clare captain Gary Brennan believes his side have more to deliver in this memorable season, starting next weekend away to Sligo in the All-Ireland qualifiers. The 27-year-old Clondegad clubman kicked a point as Clare saw off Laois by the minimum in Ennis on Sunday for what was only their fifth win in the qualifiers.
“We want to try and win every game. Our record in the qualifiers isn’t brilliant but it’s nice to have a win. It would be great to make the last 12 but our focus will be on the next game. We will have to get ready. We will have a week to prepare and will do our best. In the qualifiers, you can only take it one game at a time.
“A few of us would have played in round three in previous years. We have been there before and want to be playing football late into the summer. The win over Laois brings us another week into July and hopefully we can keep improving. We have shown this year, in Croke Park in the league final, that there is a lot of character in this team. A lot of people decided to question it when we had a bad performance. That was a good answer and if we can do that again then we will be on the right track.”
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