Finn and O’Donovan return to Limerick team for quarter final

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Darragh O'Donovan is one of two changes made by John Kiely to the Limerick team that plays Kilkenny this Sunday. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Sean Finn and Darragh O’Donovan have been restored to the Limerick side that face Kilkenny in Sunday’s crucial All-Ireland hurling quarter final at Semple Stadium.

Finn and O’Donovan are the only changes from the team that comfortably beat Carlow last weekend. Richie McCarthy and Will O’Donoghue drop down to the bench.

Limerick manager John Kiely spoke to the media earlier this week and believes that both sides are much improved since the last time they met in last year’s qualifiers, a game that Kilkenny won by three points.

“Our mentality going into the game is that it’s a knockout quarter final,” said Kiely. “It’s a case of making sure that you deliver the best performance that you can.

“We have an awful lot of work put in this year and we want to take another step in the championship this Sunday.

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“All the players are that little bit more mature now. They have the benefit of two years coaching and two years of physical development as well. A lot of the lads have that bit more experience now plus they have got more game time.

“We had a good run in the league this year and those extra games against better opposition were a big help to the team.”

Limerick have enjoyed an impressive season to date outside of a poor showing against Clare in the final Munster Championship Round Robin game.

However, Kiely is insistent that his focus is 100% on the Kilkenny game, saying: “We just want to keep winning matches.

“We know we are going to have a really tough battle on Sunday and it’s just a case of making sure we get everything right this week and get to Sunday in the best possible shape we can.”

The Galbally clubman was also keen to stress that his side haven’t reached their full potential yet and that there is more improvement to be made.

“We wouldn’t be entirely happy with the performances in total,” Kiely admitted. There was good long periods of dominance and various games had different aspects that we wouldn’t have maybe been happy with but that’s probably always going to be the case.

“You are never going to get the perfect performance. There are always areas to learn from and improve from.

“Players are prepared for this. We have prepared for the last eight months to be here and ready for these games.

“I trust the players to be ready on Sunday and give a performance. To be honest It’s not so much about the opposition, it’s about ourselves”

Limerick’s game against Kilkenny has a 2pm throw in on Sunday in Thurles and is live on RTÉ 1.

Limerick Team: 

1: Nickie Quaid (Effin)

2: Sean Finn (Bruff)

3: Mike Casey (Na Piarsaigh)

4: Richie English (Doon)

5: Diarmaid Byrnes (Patrickswell)

6: Declan Hannon (Adare) Captain

7: Dan Morrissey (Ahane)

8: Darragh O’Donovan (Doon)

9: Cian Lynch (Patrickswell)

10: Gearoid Hegarty (St Patrick’s)

11: Kyle Hayes (Kildimo-Pallaskenry)

12: Tom Morrissey (Ahane)

13: Aaron Gillane (Patrickswell)

14: Seamus Flanagan (Feohanagh)

15: Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock)

Subs:

16: Barry Hennessy (Kilmallock)

17: Peter Casey (Na Piarsaigh)

18: David Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh)

19: Shane Dowling (Na Piarsaigh)

20: Seamus Hickey (Murroe-Boher)

21: Richie McCarthy (Blackrock)

22: Barry Nash (South Liberties)

23: Will O’Donoghue (Na Piarsaigh)

24: Paddy O’Loughlin (Kilmallock)

25: David Reidy (Dromin-Athlacca)

26: Pat Ryan (Doon)