Wednesday 21 February 2018

Galvin return perfect boost for Limerick

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

JOHN Galvin's return to training, nine weeks after it was feared his season had ended, has provided Limerick footballers with a timely boost as they attempt to reach the Munster final for the fifth time in 10 seasons against Clare on Saturday evening.

"John is regarded as the father figure. He's a great player and a ferocious competitor and everybody knows what he brings to the scene," said Limerick manager Maurice Horan.

Galvin suffered a recurrence of a knee injury during a league game against Fermanagh in early April and it was initially thought that the big midfielder would be out for the year.

However, the diagnosis showed only a tear in the cruciate and after specialist treatment, he has been given the all-clear to rejoin the panel and is on the bench this weekend.

Horan has handed a debut to 19-year-old Ian Corbett, who comes in at wing-forward and replaces Eoin Barry. Stephen Kelly is restored to the No 11 shirt, with Eoghan O'Connor making way.

Limerick have already beaten Waterford in the Munster championship, which more than made amends for the defeat in the Division 4 clash, and will be trying to effect a similar overturn against Clare.

Clare beat Limerick by a point in the league, but could have won by a whole lot more as they shot 16 wides.

Limerick also lost to Waterford and Wicklow and drew with Fermanagh, leaving them well adrift of the promotion pace, which was a surprise for one of the pre-tournament favourites.

However, their championship rating as third best in Munster behind Kerry and Cork over the last decade ensured that with the draw keeping them on the opposite side to the 'Big Two', they would be favourites to reach the final.

They lived up to expectations in the first round, easily beating Waterford, and are expected to book a place in the final on Saturday. However, Horan warns that Clare are a serious threat.

"It's a great chance, but Clare will see it the same way, especially after beating us in the league. Any year Cork and Kerry are on the same side of the draw makes it very interesting for those on the other side," said Horan.

A win on Saturday will guarantee Limerick or Clare a place in the last 12 in the All-Ireland race, even if they lose the Munster final. Limerick made it all the way to the All-Ireland quarter-finals, via the qualifiers, last year and while they lost for a second time in the space of a few months to Kerry, it gave them the pleasant taste of big-time action in Croke Park.

"By the time we got to Kerry in the quarter-finals, it was our fourth game over successive weekends, which was pretty wearing. I'd like to think we learned from the experience though," said Horan.

"Still, that's all behind us and now all that matters is the Clare game on Saturday."

Limerick -- B Scanlon; J McCarthy, P Brown, L O'Dwyer; S Lavin, J Riordan, P Ranahan; T Lee, P Kinnerk; I Corbett, S Kelly, S Buckley; G Collins, S O'Carroll, I Ryan.

Irish Independent

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