Tuesday 12 December 2017

'No story here,' insists Limerick boss

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

LIMERICK hurling boss John Allen refused to be drawn yesterday on comments by county legend Ciaran Carey, who stood down suddenly as one of his selectors last weekend.

Carey said he had resigned from the Shannonsiders' backroom team because he was unhappy with the team's fitness levels. Allen said he would "not make any comment whatsoever" on Carey's surprise decision to quit just four weeks ahead of the championship clash with Tipperary on May 27.

But when asked if he has received any complaints from the players about the quality of Limerick training, Allen said: "Absolutely not. Things have been going very well in training. I am not someone who is given to talking such things up but there is actually a great atmosphere in the camp at the moment.

"There is no story here as far as the management, the players and the county board is concerned."

Carey was the only member of Allen's backroom team who had been there previously, having served as a selector with Donal O'Grady.

But he quit, saying: "I had issues with how the team were physically prepared and that trend has been there for a while now. The easy thing to do was to go through the motions for the next few weeks but Limerick hurling means too much to me.

"I needed to be honest to myself but, more importantly, I needed to be honest to the players. It would be wrong to stay in a system that I clearly had concerns about.

"It will come as no shock to the management that I have made such a decision. I have voiced my concerns over the past few months about our preparations."

Carey said the modern game is all about "power and pace" and felt Limerick had "some way to go" in this regard. Allen's arrival coincided with Limerick reaching the Division 1B final this year which they lost to Clare, and Carey referred to that game.

"We faded badly," he said. "We were in control but when Clare moved up a gear we were unable to follow and that should not be the case at this level."

Allen previously managed Cork to All-Ireland senior glory in 2005; last winter, he became the third Corkman in a row to manage Limerick.

His new backroom team also included selectors John Kiely and Eamonn Meskell and coach Donagh O'Donnell. The latter led Nenagh CBS to an All-Ireland Colleges title this year. Kiely managed the Limerick intermediates to a Munster final in 2011, and Meskell was a selector with Ahane who reached the county final last year.

Allen said yesterday that Limerick's championship preparations will be undisturbed by this latest twist.

Limerick have played challenge matches against the county U-21s and Offaly in recent weeks and beat a Dublin selection by 0-18 to 1-12 in Cappamore last weekend. They are trying to finalise an arrangement to play Galway next weekend in what is expected to be their last pre-championship challenge match.

Seamus Hickey, who missed all of the Allianz League due to studying in America, only returned at the start of the month but has played in all three challenge matches to date.

Young forward star Declan Hannon has resumed running after a long-running groin injury and Allen said he could yet play some part against Tipperary but he sounded less optimistic about team captain David Breen, who has missed three weeks of training with the hamstring injury he picked up against Clare last time out.

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