McDermott insists Deise will be hit for six by Treaty power
LIMERICK could have as much as five or six points to spare over Waterford in their bid to reach the Munster football final on Sunday.
That's the verdict of Clare manager, Michael McDermott, who had first-hand experience against both counties over the past few months. And while Mickey Ned O'Sullivan won't thank him for flagging his Limerick team so publicly, McDermott's views are based on impressions drawn from three games against Sunday's pair.
Waterford beat Clare in the league and Munster championship while Limerick beat them in the league, games which have left McDermott with the view that Mickey Ned's men are the better qualified to progress to the final.
"I'd fancy Limerick to win by five or six points. They have a stronger side now than when they beat Waterford in the Division 4 final. Johnny McCarthy, Stephen Lavin, Stephen Lucey and Stephen Kelly are all back for Limerick, which is quite a boost," said McDermott, whose Clare team lost to them by a point in a crucial Division 4 promotion game in April.
Waterford beat Clare far more comprehensively in the league and repeated the success in the championship, this time by four points.
"Don't get me wrong, Waterford are a very good side but we'd have felt that a few bad refereeing decisions, plus some missed chances, were the big difference between us in the championship game. After coming so close to Cork in last year's Munster final, the championship was always going to be Limerick's big target this year but they got the added bonus of winning promotion. They are a very powerful team," said McDermott.
Nor does he think that playing in Fraher Field, Dungarvan will disrupt Limerick.
"They're an experienced side who will take that in their stride. I'd be really surprised if they don't make it to the final."
Despite the defeat by Waterford, McDermott believes that, if luck runs Clare's way, the season could yet be quite interesting. The squad returned to training on the Tuesday after the Waterford game and will have another session tomorrow night prior to returning to the their clubs for the first round of the county championship.
"The lads are committed to having a real go at the qualifiers. Look at the progress Wicklow made from Division 4 last year. We have to believe in ourselves," said McDermott, who guided Kilmurry-Ibrickane to the All-Ireland club final this year.
The club were anxious for him to continue again this year, and while he considered taking on the club-county role, he has opted against it. "It's not really feasible to do both jobs the way they need to be done. My concentration is on Clare now."