Lively league encounter anticipated in Salthill 

John Kiely and Henry Shefflin will renew their managerial rivalry on Sunday.

WALSH Cup winners Galway are next-up for All-Ireland kingpins Limerick in the Allianz National Hurling League. The old foes clash at Pearse Stadium in Galway this coming Sunday (throw-in 2.30pm). 

The Tribesmen, under the tutelage of the sport’s most decorated player Henry Shefflin, laid down an early season marker with a comfortable defeat away to Wexford in the league opener, which doubled-up as the Walsh Cup Final.  

Just a week later, however, Galway were more soundly beaten by Cork than the 4-24 to 3-22 full-time scoreline would suggest. 

Of the impending challenge from John Kiely’s charges, Shefflin commented: “Another serious step for ourselves, and we just have to assess things. I think everyone is trying to build a panel. But I’m looking for players that want to play for Galway and there have been some green shoots.”

“But on the other hand, some more of the experienced players probably need to up in some levels maybe with more training and hurling, and that is what we are striving to do over the next couple of weeks.”

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Cathal Mannion and Daithí Burke are two players Galway hope will return from injury soon, possibly even in time for this weekend’s action. 

Limerick too have plenty of injury concerns, most notably around captain Declan Hannon, Fergal O’Connor, Mike Casey, Cathal O’Neill and David Reidy, while Fitzgibbon Cup winning pair Colin Coughlan and Adam English might be rested following their immense contribution to UL retaining their title on Saturday.

In addition, Patrickswell duo Diarmaid Brynes and Aaron Gillane continue to be unavailable for selection. 

Kiely is keen to introduce fringe players to competitive action, so it’s expected that Jimmy Quilty, Ciarán Barry, and Donnacha Ó Dálaigh will be on or close to the starting selection, which will be announced on Friday night at 9pm. 

The fixture will be live on TG4 (and on local radio on Limerick’s Live 95).

Limerick’s opening two matches, away to Cork and home to Clare, attracted average audiences of 220,000, according to figures supplied to the Limerick Post by RTÉ. 

Around 15,000 supporters are expected in Salthill where a Limerick win would probably secure their qualification for the semi-finals.