Limerick stars facing real test of character -- O'Mahoney
AFTER the lost year of 2010 and the vast improvement of 2011, Limerick captain Gavin O'Mahoney believes the 2012 campaign will be a "real test of character" as the county start life without Donal O'Grady.
"Next year is going to be really about the players," he said. "It's going to be a real test of character. Fair enough last year you were coming back after what happened in 2010, but next year will really question fellas.
"Are they here just to go to training or do they want to improve and try to compete and get to Croke Park in August/ September?
"Looking back (on 2011), while it was progression, there was also unfinished business."
O'Mahoney admitted his surprise that O'Grady stuck so rigidly to his decision to manage Limerick for just one season and opted to move on despite a year of significant progress.
"He (O'Grady) had so much to offer and he was so professional about things," said O'Mahoney.
"This last year flew, from the first training session to the last. It was so enjoyable that you'd have been hoping he would have stayed on, but trying to replace him now is not going to be easy."
Elsewhere, Tommy Walsh has urged his Kilkenny team-mates to return for the 2012 campaign.
"I don't think anyone should ever make the decision to retire or go out on top or anything like that," said Walsh.
"I just think your hurling life is too short to be thinking anything like that. I think the best time to go is when you are half told to go. If I was any of the lads I wouldn't be handing in the boots anyway."
Meanwhile, veteran goalkeeper Clinton Hennessy has decided to bring an end to his inter-county career.
Hennessy, who will continue to line out for club Ardmore, has cited family commitments as his reason for bowing out. He made his debut in the 2005 All-Ireland SHC quarter-final and went on to win three Munster SHC medals, as well as an NHL medal in 2007.