Hayes: Limerick system working well
The Limerick underage hurling academy is the envy of many and Treaty star Kyle Hayes is not surprised that so many have already made the senior grade.
Two All-Ireland U-21 titles in three years - as well as Munster titles in 2013/'14 and an All-Ireland MHC final appearance in 2016 - has left a plethora of talent at John Kiely's disposal and many, including Hayes, have already made an instant impact at senior level.
"Cian Lynch's age group was the very start of the academy, but it's really about hard work being put in. It's all done professionally so there's not much change from senior to U-21 to underage, from 14 up it's all regulated and planned out," he said.
"You're bound to get players coming off that conveyor belt if that's the system in place. You're prepared from the age of 14 to play senior, the training schedules and so on change, but basically it's what you do the whole time."
Spring saw Limerick finally make their way out of Division 1B - narrowly losing out after extra-time to Tipperary in the league semi-final - after several near misses and hopes are high ahead of a hectic Munster campaign.
"It was a goal for the last seven years to get out of that division, finally we did this year, but we made great strides. We had three really tough matches and came out on top in two of them, so there are a lot of positives there," Kildimo-Pallaskenry clubman Hayes said.
It's a busy time for Hayes as Limerick begin the defence of their Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U-21 title next Monday against Clare in Cusack Park - a full six weeks before the semi-finals - and he prepares for Business exams in UL while getting ready for the unique demands of the new Munster SHC.
Elsewhere, Luke Nicholson and Liam Gaughan will both make their Connacht SFC debuts for Sligo against London this weekend.
Leitrim (SF v New York) - D McKiernan; P Maguire, M McWeeney, O Madden; J Rooney, D Wrynn, S Quinn; M Plunkett, D Flynn; J Heslin, E Mulligan, R O'Rourke; D Rooney, K Beirne, B Gallagher.
Sligo (SF v London) - A Devaney; R Donovan, L Nicholson, C Harrison; G O'Kelly Lynch, A McIntyre, N Ewing; N Murphy, K McDonnell; C Henry, C Breheny, P Hughes; L Gaughan, A Marren, K Cawley.
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