Limerick on the under-card of attractive league double header

Limerick’s Barry Murphy during the Treaty’s recent clash with Westmeath in Mullingar. Photo: Michael P Ryan.

FOR the first time in an age, All-Ireland/Munster/League hurling champions Limerick are on the under-card of a major sporting double-bill.

On Saturday (5.15pm), Limerick’s league outing against Dublin at Croke Park is just the warm-up to the glamour pennant competition clash of Dublin and Kerry, a repeat of last year’s cracking All-Ireland Championship Football Final at the same venue, won by the former.

In a gesture to the fans, Limerick GAA have arranged for supporters to travel to the capital with the team on a special train.

Limerick are unbeaten from two starts, courtesy of a landslide win over Antrim and a laboured defeat of Westmeath.

Soundly beaten by Tipperary in their opener, Dublin earned a hard-fought victory away to Antrim at Corrigan Park, Belfast, a fortnight ago.

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Dublin’s margin of victory against Antrim was the bare minimum, whereas Limerick beat the side by close on 30 points.

It’s unlikely John Kiely’s charges will leave headquarters with anything other than another brace of points, and with it certain qualification for next season’s reduced Division One membership, along with another step closer to the semi-finals of the competition.

Kiely will be keen to continue a path of affording plenty of chances to bring performers staking permanent spots within his tight-knit squad to the fore. Following on from weekend Fitzgibbon Cup exploits, young guns such as Shane O’Brien (Kilmallock), Fergal O’Connor (Effin), Adam English (Doon), and Brian O’Grady (Kilteely-Dromkeen) are all likely to feature in this round three fixture.

There’s also expected to be more game time afforded to rising star Donnacha Ó Dálaigh of Monaleen.

The bench made an impact the last day, so it’s certain that Paddy O’Donovan (Effin) and Mark Quinlan (Garryspillane) will be also involved at the weekend.

After the weekend, Limerick have back-to-back home fixtures with Tipperary (March 9) and Galway (St Patrick’s Day, March 17) at the Gaelic Grounds in March.