Downes wants O'Grady to stay
LIMERICK starlet Kevin Downes has called on Donal O'Grady to remain at the helm of the county's hurlers to "build on the progress" of 2011, WRITES Donnchadh Boyle.
The Treaty men secured promotion back to the top flight this term and progressed to the last eight of the All-Ireland championship before being ousted by Dublin and though O'Grady has yet to indicate his intentions for next season, it is expected he will return.
"Donal has made a huge difference to Limerick hurling and he is a brilliant coach," said the Na Piarsaigh clubman.
"Donal will make his own mind up whether he will stay on or not and he will take his time, but I know the players want him to stay on.
"Personally speaking, I want him to stay on and build on the progress. He is a top-class coach."
"This was a huge year for Limerick hurling after the tough few years we have had.
"Things were in a bad place but we managed to get out of Division 2 and now we will be playing with the big boys next year and that is where any good hurling county needs to be.
"Getting out of Division 2 was the most important thing. We were very disappointed to lose to Waterford and very disappointed to lose to Dublin, but that's championship hurling."
Limerick could take another step forward by winning the Munster U-21 title when they take on Cork in the Gaelic Grounds tonight but regardless of that result, Downes is bullish about the county's prospects for 2012.
"Of course Limerick can compete for honours next year," he said.
"We will be in Division 1 and we don't just want to compete -- we want to win. We have a young senior team and we can plug the gap and get better. You play to win and you play to be involved in big days."