Sport Hurling

Monday 18 December 2017

Breen sees bright future on horizon for Limerick

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

THERE has been a strange dynamic in one Limerick house this week. Treaty hurler David Breen lives with Paul Kinnerk, who, along with playing football for Limerick, also happens to be the Clare senior hurling team trainer.

The pair have been friends since their Ardscoil Ris days, but with promotion to Division 1A the goal of both sides, that has been put on hold.

Under the new Allianz League format, the top two teams from Division 1B play off for promotion, with the winner joining the top three teams from Division 1A in the semi-finals.

"Don't worry, (Clare manager) Davy (Fitzgerald) has him well versed," Breen laughed when asked if he got the inside track on the Banner on a recent visit to Dubai.

"One of the big things for us last year was getting out of Division 2, which we thought we did. But it is going to be the same this year -- we have to get out of 1B."

Tonight represents a league debut for both managers in their new roles. Fitzgerald takes charge of Clare and, while Limerick lost Donal O'Grady over the winter after a progressive 2011, Breen insisted the Treaty panel are more than happy with his replacement, John Allen.

"The guys were surprised (O'Grady left). We didn't really know what the score was at the end of the year, but having John Allen is fantastic.

"He is an All-Ireland winning manager. He is a very intelligent man. He brings a very professional set-up and that is what all the players want. He is a very open-minded guy, too. He has a lot of respect for the players.

"They have a similar way of thinking. He definitely knows what Donal was trying to do last year and he is trying to bring us further."

And with Limerick teams on the rise at club, schools and county level, Breen sees the Treaty closing the gap as each year passes.

"I think the gap is getting smaller and smaller every time between the teams. I personally think that in Munster, there is nothing between the teams. You see that in the Munster Championship every year. It is going to be very interesting this time round.

"There are county teams constantly improving their set-ups. They are realising what it takes. I think, in Limerick, we are doing great stuff.

"On the club scene, we did very well this year at all levels -- junior, intermediate and senior -- and then there was Ardscoil Ris winning the Harty Cup and all the rest.

"They have been doing fantastic work underage. We are bringing it through to senior now. So it is about getting the right set-up at senior level and we are working on that. It looks good for Limerick for the future."

Irish Independent

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