Sport Hurling

Thursday 26 April 2018

Allen promises 'huge effort' to keep Limerick on right track

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

SEVEN years after taking over from Donal O'Grady as Cork manager, John Allen is again following in the footsteps of his St Finbarr's clubmate as he heads for Limerick, hoping to build on the progress made this year.

"It's pure coincidence that I'm replacing Donal, but, hopefully, it will go as well as the last time in Cork," said Allen, who revealed that up to three weeks ago he hadn't even thought of returning to inter-county management.

"Then I got a few approaches and I gradually got thinking that I might regret it if I didn't take the plunge. Chances don't come around too often, so I decided to go for it."

A few approaches? Waterford and Wexford also come to mind as suitors, but Allen wasn't saying, opting instead to dwell on Limerick as he became the third Corkman to manage them in three years. Having retired from teaching last summer, he says he has plenty of spare time to devote to the task ahead.

Allen enjoyed two excellent years as Cork manager in 2005/06, winning an All-Ireland and two Munster titles, so arrives in Limerick with lots of positive experience.

That will be invaluable in a county where the potential reading is quite high after success at college and U-21 level, in particular.

"When you look at how the seniors improved this year and how the U-21s went about winning the Munster title, you would have to be impressed," said Allen.

"The U-21s looked very exciting, while the seniors showed a lot of potential too, even if they did lose to Waterford and Dublin.

"Now, the challenge is to build on all that and see how far it can take Limerick. It will take a huge effort, but I'm sure the players are ready for it and so am I."

Fitzgerald vows

to get Banner

flying high again

DAVY FITZGERALD has promised to propel Clare back among the country's elite hurling teams.

"My aim is for Clare to be among the top four or five teams in the country within three years. At the moment, I see us at nine or 10," he said.

"We have to get back up to the top tier and that means competing in All-Ireland semi-finals and finals as well, as winning the Munster championship along the way.

"But people have to be patient. 'Sparrow' (Ger O'Loughlin) started the rebuilding and did a decent job but there is more to do and we'll get on with it. I am looking at a couple of other good young players who I would like to have in the panel.

"It will take these lads time to find their feet because they are young and there aren't any older players there to help them."

Irish Independent

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