Cian Lynch is set to make his Limerick return from the bench after John Kiely named the two-time Hurler of the Year among his subs for Saturday night’s Allianz League opener in Cork.
All told, Kiely has included seven starters from the team that lined up for the parade against Kilkenny last July: four-time All-Ireland-winning captain Declan Hannon is joined by fellow defenders Seán Finn and Dan Morrissey plus Darragh O’Donovan, Gearóid Hegarty, Tom Morrissey and Séamus Flanagan in the line-up for Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Lynch, whose game-time in last year’s three-in-a-row campaign was hugely diminished by hamstring and ankle injuries, is listed on a bench that includes veteran forward Graeme Mulcahy.
But, not surprisingly, there is no sign of Aaron Gillane amid ongoing doubts about the three-time All-Star’s panel involvement this season. Limerick are also without current Hurler of the Year Diarmaid Byrnes arising from his pre-arranged trip to Dubai.
Glenroe ‘keeper David McCarthy will make his first league appearance having started both of their Munster Hurling League fixtures, with regular Nickie Quaid not in the match-day squad and his long-time deputy, Barry Hennessy, now retired.
Meanwhile, new Cork boss Pat Ryan has named four debutants for the visit of Kiely’s All-Ireland kingpins, with call-ups for Conor O’Callaghan (Dromtarriffe) and Eoin Downey (Glen Rovers) in the full-back line, Brian O’Sullivan (Kanturk) at midfield and Cormac Beausang (Midleton) at wing-forward.
O’Callaghan skippered the Rebels to All-Ireland U-20 success in 2020 while Downey and O’Sullivan were part of the team that triumphed in the same grade a year later.
LIMERICK (NHL v Cork): D McCarthy; S Finn, R English, A Costelloe; D Morrissey, D Hannon (c), C Coughlan; D O’Donovan, B Murphy; G Hegarty, D Reidy, T Morrissey; A English, S Flanagan, O O’Reilly. Subs: J Power, C Barry, R Connolly, M Houlihan, C Lynch, G Mulcahy, S O’Brien, A O’Connor, D Ó Dalaigh, J Quilty.
CORK (NHL): P Collins; C O’Callaghan, E Downey, S O’Donoghue (c); T O’Connell, C Joyce, D Cahalane; B O’Sullivan, L Meade; B Roche, C Lehane, C Beausang; D Dalton, P Horgan, R O’Flynn. Subs: G Connolly, N O’Leary, E Roche, C O’Brien, C Cormack, S Quirke, C Cahalane, S Twomey, B Hayes, S Barrett, S Kingston.