Close

Premium

Munster rivals will have to battle their way through a minefield in championship duels down south

Rival counties will have to battle their way through an absolute minefield in championship duels down south, writes Donnchadh Boyle

Close

Clare’s John Conlon in possession under pressure from Limerick’s Declan Hannon in last year’s Munster Championship. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Clare’s John Conlon in possession under pressure from Limerick’s Declan Hannon in last year’s Munster Championship. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Clare’s John Conlon in possession under pressure from Limerick’s Declan Hannon in last year’s Munster Championship. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

So a throwback do-or-die Munster Championship looms with reigning provincial champions and All-Ireland favourites, Limerick, pitched straight into an angry bullpen.

Mind you, if John Kiely swallowed deep on witnessing the recalibrated championship draw, Brian Lohan could surely have been forgiven a request for smelling salts. Already deprived the services of Peter Duggan on his debut season as Clare manager, Lohan must also plan without Podge Collins, Colm Galvin and presumably his captain, John Conlon, too for a campaign that could not be more heavily mined.

Next weekend's Munster opener against Limerick in Semple Stadium doubles as the league final and, though defeat won't quite close the All-Ireland door for either county, it will surely lend it a forbidding wrought-iron weight.