IMPRESSIVE Limerick run-up against Wicklow in the concluding round of the group stages of the Tailteann Cup in Portlaoise on Sunday next (June 4).
Throw-in is at 1pm, with the other group fixture involving Carlow and Longford to follow (3pm).
What’s already confirmed ahead of the weekend is that Limerick, with two wins from as many starts (against Longford and Carlow), have secured a home quarter-final on Saturday, June 17.
Although yet unknown, Limerick’s opponents will be a second/third-placed team from another group, or possibly New York (who will only enter the competition at this preliminary quarter-final stage the week previous).
With Rathkeale’s Mick Neville Park still under remedial work, and Newcastle West unlikely to be in the frame to host, the Gaelic Grounds will stage this high-profile fixture.
John Kiely’s Limerick are also in All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship preliminary quarter-final action on the same weekend. This tie will be away to Offaly, runners-up in the Joe McDonagh Cup.
Ahead of their imminent trip to O’Moore Park, manager Mark Fitzgerald will be chuffed with the form of his team to date, particularly the continued impressiveness of Brian Fanning, Mike Donovan, Barry Coleman, Paul Maher, Cathal Downes, Brian Donovan, James Naughton and Peter Nash.
The availability once more of Iain Corbett and the Bourke brothers, Hugh and Robbie, are also positives for the Shannonsiders. Young Cormac Woulfe is another live contender for a starting place in a few days’ time.
Oisín McConville (two-time Armagh All-Star) managed Wicklow have disappointed in both Tailteann appearances (versus Carlow and Longford) and are unlikely to trouble their unbeaten opponents. Their side includes lead performers such as Paul McLoughlin, Patrick O’Keane, Dean Headly, Pádraig O’Toole (captain), John Paul Hurley, John Paul Nolan and Kevin Quinn.
Quite rightly, Limerick are now viewed as serious challengers to raise aloft the Tailteann Cup later in the Summer.