Saturday 18 November 2017

Houlihan in line for Limerick comeback

Jackie Cahill

FORMER Limerick goalkeeper Timmy Houlihan has been handed a dramatic chance to revive his inter-county hurling career under Justin McCarthy.

Houlihan is one of the players currently in training under McCarthy's watch as the under-fire manager prepares for the seasonal Waterford Crystal Cup opener on January 24.

Limerick County Board secretary Mike O'Riordan indicated last night that McCarthy has yet to finalise his squad but confirmed that Houlihan is involved with the panel.

It is also believed that more trial matches are planned before McCarthy decides upon his panel of players for the Waterford Crystal tournament and beyond.

Houlihan won three successive All-Ireland U-21 medals with Limerick from 2000-2002 and cemented a place as a regular senior player during that time.

The 27-year-old was involved at various times until 2005 before being replaced by Brian Murray as first-choice goalkeeper in 2006.

However, Adare clubman Houlihan did feature during the 2006 season when he came on as a substitute in the heavy qualifier defeat to Clare.

Kerry and Kilkenny natives are other players under consideration by McCarthy, who is holding firm in his position despite being without all but six of the panel from last year's All-Ireland semi-final against Tipperary.

Former Kerry goalkeeper Tadhg Flynn, currently playing his club hurling with Ahane in Limerick, looks set to battle it out with Houlihan for the No 1 shirt.

Kilkenny native Anthony Owens is currently hurling with the South Liberties club and is tipped for a place in Limerick's half-forward line.

James Mann of Patrickswell is also involved and he is a relative of Limerick's newly elected Munster Council delegate Oliver Mann.

Former minor star Sean Herlihy of Monegea, who has tasted Fitzgibbon Cup action with Limerick IT, is another well-known player who will feature in the new regime, as well as South Liberties captain Shane O'Neill.

David Moloney, who scored the winning point for Blackrock in the recent Munster Junior Club Hurling final, is one of the six players from last year's squad still involved.

Paul Browne (Bruff), Paudie McNamara (Murroe-Boher), David Breen (Na Piarsaigh), Brian O'Sullivan and Graeme Mulcahy (both Kilmallock), are the others.

Meanwhile, tonight's proposed County Board meeting, which was called off because of bad weather conditions, has been rescheduled for next Tuesday night at Claughaun.

Irish Independent

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