Kiely’s choice: Limerick boss faces selection challenge

Limerick boss John Kiely will be thinking hard about his side facing Cork this weekend. Photo: Brendan Moran.

TEAM selection is a challenge for All-Ireland and Munster Senior Hurling Champions Limerick, according to spoiled-for-choice manager John Kiely.

With two wins (over Clare and Tipperary), the holders can assure themselves of another provincial final spot with victory over Cork at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday (7pm).

Due to injury, Kiely is currently without three key individuals – brothers Mike and Peter Casey and Darragh O’Donovan – but  has strength in depth.

“We have always had strong panels,” he insisted. “Team selection has always been a challenge. Panel selection has always been a challenge.

“We  have a lot of guys (such as Micheál Houlihan, Jason Gillane, Ronan Lyons, and Oisín O’Reilly) knocking on the door that are not even making the match day 26, and are playing out of their skins in training.”

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The Limerick boss said that the Treaty men “have a big challenge going down to Cork. We have only four points on the board, and that isn’t going to guarantee qualification.”

Uppermost in the selectorial thoughts of Kiely will be the impact substitutes against Tipperary a couple of weeks ago, namely Adam English and Donnacha Ó Dálaigh.

Cork’s survival in Championship 2024 is wholly dependent on a positive home result.

Two summers ago, Cork lost their opening two games and still qualified. Back then, neither of those losses came against the champions.

The Leesiders have lost away to Waterford and at home to Clare.

In the wake of the latter outing, Cork manager Pat Ryan said: “What are we going to do, fall down on our sword?”

“In fairness to the lads, it will probably be easier to get them up after this game than it was last week because it was an abysmal performance below in Waterford whereas today was a much better performance. But at the end of the day, we are only interested in winning.”

The fixture, which is the only one in the Munster SHC this weekend, is not on terrestrial television but is available on the GAAGO streaming platform, with radio commentary on Limerick’s Live 95FM.

Seán Stack (Dublin) will referee.