Tailteann Cup campaign beckons for Limerick

Limerick’s Paul Maher (fourth from left) at the launch of the Tailteann Cup.

LIMERICK’S inaugural Tailteann Cup Senior Football campaign will involve a home game with Longford, an away trip to Carlow, and a contest with Wicklow at a neutral venue. 

The competition has four groups of four with three from each set to advance to preliminary quarter-finals. 

All opposition is quite manageable for Mark Fitzgerald’s side, who are already fancied to emerge from Group Three into the knock-out phase of a competition, which was only introduced last season as a competitive second-tier All-Ireland Championship. 

First-up for Limerick (Division Three) is a visit from Division Four outfit Longford to the TUS Gaelic Grounds on Saturday (6pm).

Under the management of former Dublin All-Star Paddy Christie, Longford exited the Leinster Championship by the bare minimum at home to Offaly. 

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It was a fixture in which Brian Masterson, Darren Gallagher, Joe Hagan, Dessie Reynolds, and Daire O’Brien, amongst others, impressed for the beaten side. Expect this quintet to be prominent at the Ennis Road Grounds also in a few days’ time. 

Limerick, for their part, gave a real positive account of themselves in a narrow championship loss to weekend Munster Finalists Clare, especially after the upheaval of losing manager Ray Dempsey towards the tail end of the National League. 

The Shannonsiders are fortunate to have seasoned campaigners in Donal O’Sullivan, Seán O’Dea, Paul Maher (who represented the side at Monday’s launch) Jim Liston, Cian Sheehan, Iain Corbett, and James Naughton to assist in the arrival of talented newcomers such as Cathal Downes (Kildimo/Pallaskenry) and Rathkeale’s Barry Coleman. 

Realistically, Limerick are quite capable of winning this weekend, and over the next few weeks, and progressing to the business end of a championship that was first claimed by Westmeath only last Summer.

At the competition’s launch, GAA President Larry McCarthy said: “We are confident the Tailteann Cup will grow and grow. We are determined to ensure that we build further on the excellent foundation laid in the Tailteann Cup last summer and see even more progress made this year.”

He added: “The real stars will always be the games and the players on centre stage and what the Tailteann Cup showed was that when teams of equal ability meet, the games are hugely competitive and hugely enjoyable.”

Limerick’s other group opponents, Wicklow and Carlow, meet in Aughrim on Sunday. 

The groupings are: 1 – Cavan, Offaly, Laois, London; 2 – Meath, Down, Tipperary, Waterford; 3 – Limerick, Longford, Carlow, Wicklow and 4 – Fermanagh, Antrim, Wexford, Leitrim.