All to play for in Munster SHC

Awe-inspiring Séamus Flannagan celebrates scoring Limerick’s second goal against Cork last weekend. Photo: Daire Brenndan.

IT’S without holders Limerick, who have a bye, that a fascinating Munster Senior Hurling Championship continues on Sunday with Clare at home to Waterford in Ennis (2pm) and Cork away to Tipperary in Thurles (4pm).

Both fixtures are set for live terrestrial television coverage on RTÉ 2.

Limerick re-enter the arena with a final round home outing against the Déise at the TUS Gaelic Grounds the following weekend, on an evening that the Banner visit Semple Stadium.

Well outnumbered on the fan front in Cork on Saturday last, Limerick will be hoping that their fateful followers come out in their droves to pack out the home venue on May 26.

A clearer picture of the group permutations ahead of the concluding round on May 26 will be known be in a few days’ time.

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Limerick’s prospects of a Munster Final appearance were dented with the narrow 3-28 to 3-26 weekend loss to Cork at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

When the season comes to a close, this encounter will be recalled as the ‘Game of the Year’, one which enthralled a live audience of 41,670.

Well adrift by eight points at half-time, Limerick, helped hugely be a couple of opportunistic goals from full-forward Séamus Flanagan, were four points to the good entering the final stretch. At the death, the ageless Patrick Horgan (the all-time highest championship scorer with 27-583) converted a penalty to keep alive Cork’s season.

In his 35th Championship appearance, Flanagan – who didn’t score against Clare and wasn’t on duty versus Tipperary – turned in possibly his greatest display and returned an awesome 3-3. His overall haul now across Munster/All-Ireland C’ship campaigns comes to a jaw-dropping 9-56.

The Feohanagh man has now guaranteed himself the number 14 jersey for the eagerly anticipated visit of Davy Fitzgerald’s side to an expected sold-out Gaelic Grounds.

Other notable scoring contributions (from play) came from Gearóid Hegarty and Cathal O’Neill.

Limerick’s defence had many stand-out performers.

On the injury front, four-time All-Star Seán Finn (leg) retired at the tail-end of the first half, and joins Darragh O’Donovan and Peter Casey on the treatment table. Captain Declan Hannon also has a minor injury issue.

In a squad update, Mike Casey has recovered from the knock he sustained in the opener against Clare and is a likely starter the next day.