LIMERICK senior hurling manager Justin McCarthy has sensationally dropped several high-profile players from the panel that took part in this year’s league and championship.
Gone from the panel are full-back Stephen Lucey, along with corner-back Mark O’Riordan, forwards Niall Moran and Andrew O’Shaughnessy and veterans Donie Ryan and Mike O’Brien.
In total McCarthy has dropped 12 of this year’s panel with only 20 players surviving.
The remaining members of the panel met with the team management this week and McCarthy said: “I am sure that many teams will be making changes and we are no different in Limerick. The time has come to bring in some new blood and give them a go at inter-county level. The mind-set to survive at this level has to be right and we have to change that.
“It’s our job to exact the best from the players and I was very happy to see that many of our young lads are looking forward to getting back hurling. Places are up for grabs and lads will have to prove to us that they are willing to make the necessary sacrifices that are required to survive at this level.”
McCarthy has been in charge of Limerick for less than 12 months and his charges had a decent league run before losing to Waterford after a replay in the Munster Championship.
Subsequently they had wins over Wexford, Laois and Dublin but lost heavily to Tipperary in the All-Ireland semi-final.
Long before McCarthy took over in Limerick there had been difficulties with some players in relation to discipline but he stressed that that won’t be tolerated going forward.
“To be successful in any walk of life one has to be very disciplined and of course there are always side attractions,’’ he said. “They will always be people who will put you on the wrong track, always guys that will try and break the system and try things on. We weren’t fooled by people who may have stepped out of line in the past year.
“It didn’t have a huge effect but going forward I will not tolerate that – we have to have a better code of discipline, players have to be honest to themselves, their fellow players and the management and not be foolish enough to alter their commitment because to succeed you can’t take risks or stupid chances and hope that it will work out because it really doesn’t.”
Limerick will begin working towards 2010 tonight when the remaining members of this year’s panel will play a trial match under lights. Under the new guidelines from Croke Park this is the only match that the members of this year’s panel can play.
Over the next few weeks Limerick will hold further trials and its thought that close on 50 players will be looked at.
“The day you stop working it’s over, of course,” says McCarthy. “We were all disappointed to lose the way we did to Tipperary but we will begin working in very early January to try and climb our way back up that ladder.
“Limerick is a proud hurling county and I know already from the players that they won’t be found wanting when it comes to hard work in 2010. To make the breakthrough will require everyone to put their shoulders to the wheel and to have a clear focus of where we want to go.
“We can sit in the room with the lights off but I can tell you we will be turning them on in Limerick.”
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