Wednesday 18 October 2017

O'Mahony's early league action mutually beneficial for club and county

Gavin O'Mahony
Gavin O'Mahony
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

Gavin O'Mahony starred in Limerick's opening league game against Waterford at the weekend but that was the last the county will see of him until after the All-Ireland club hurling final.

O'Mahony lined out in the Shannonsiders' league clash specifically to get some competitive game-time under his belt after missing Kilmallock's All-Ireland semi-final against Portaferry through suspension.

Kilmallock manager Ger O'Loughlin confirmed yesterday that he will return to their set-up until their All-Ireland club odyssey is over.

O'Mahony missed the club semi-final after getting a straight red card in Kilmallock's extra-time Munster final victory over Cratloe.

Some were surprised to see him line out in an important league game so close to the club's St Patrick's Day showdown with Ballyhale Shamrocks but there were several reasons behind the decision.

"It wasn't just the All-Ireland semi-final, Gavin had missed a couple of other (challenge) games too because he was away on holidays," O'Loughlin explained.

The former Clare great said he never had any worries about him getting injured.

"Sure he could slip going out his own back-door, it could happen anytime," he said.

O'Mahony usually lines out at left half-back for Limerick but was selected at centre-forward last weekend and scored 0-5 from play.

That was no surprise to Kilmallock as he usually fills their number 11 shirt and Limerick boss TJ Ryan has already hinted that he has a new forward role in mind for him in 2015.

The opening day of the league saw several red cards which could prove costly in the second round.

Tomas Water's had only returned from a long injury lay-off to captain Wexford but a straight red against Antrim will see him sit out against Offaly this weekend.

Laois wing-back Tom Delaney will miss their game against Waterford on Saturday as he too was red-carded first day out and Wicklow's Leighton Glynn - now just playing hurling for the county - will be a big loss for their Division 2A clash with Kerry.

The opening round also threw up some mixed penalty statistics.

Safety concerns forced penalty takers to strike the ball before the 13m line last summer but that reduced the championship success rate to 20 pc.

On the recommendation of Hurling's 2020 committee, a one-versus-one rule was experimented with during the provincial pre-season competitions and could yet be put in place for the 2015 championship, depending on the decision of Congress later this month.

But the three-v-one rule applies again for the Allianz League.

Waterford conceded two penalties to Limerick and, despite facing more defenders, David Reid scored both.

However, Laois' Zane Keenan, who took two penalties against Offaly, saw both of his saved by goalkeeper James Dempsey.

Westmeath also got a penalty in Ruislip but Brendan Murtagh's shot was blocked.

Irish Independent

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