The National hurling league Division 1B gets underway this weekend and for last season’s Divsion two winners Limerick, the opponents will have a very familiar feel about them.
A then Donal O’Grady managed Limerick side beat Clare in the Division two final to take their place in the top tier of Irish hurling, however a winter revamp means that the Treaty County will instead find themselves once again in the second rung of the ladder.
Both sides will be favourites to for promotion ahead of Antrim, Wexford, Offaly and Laois.
Clare have made an impressive start to the season beating Limerick on their way to a Waterford Crystal Cup final against Tipperary and speaking to the Limerick Leader, Limerick manager John Allen was expecting another tough game on Saturday “This is a big game to start with and all things equal I might prefer if it came later in the league,”
We have to hit the ground running in this game because I am expecting Clare to bring a big challenge. Because of the Fitzgibbon Cup, it’s been difficult to have all our players in training and I am sure it’s the same in Clare, but we will have to get on with it and hope we have enough done.”
Clare could be forgiven for having revenge on their minds when they step foot in the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday. The Banner men lost to Limerick twice last season and will keen to avoid a hat trick of defeats at the weekend.
However with former goal keeper Davy Fitzgerald now at the helm, hopes are high in the South West of Ireland for a good season.
John Conlon, one of the elder statesmen in the Banner set up has been impressed with Fitzgerald so far, telling the Sun newspaper “It’s been excellent. Everything is laid out for us. Everything is A1 and everyone is flying.
“There is great competition for places. It is great to see the youth in the panel. It is up to us to drive on now.
Limerick – N Quaid; P Browne, R McCarthy, T Condon; C Allis, W McNamara, G O’Mahoney; D O’Grady, J Ryan; D Hannon, D Breen, S Dowling; S O’Brien, N Moran, M Ryan.
Clare – TBC