Limerick young star hit by U20 rule - 'We're penalising our best players'

John Kiely feels Cathal O’Neill should have been allowed play for both teams.

Cathal O'Neill in action for Limerick yesterday.
Cathal O'Neill in action for Limerick yesterday.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

LIMERICK BOSS JOHN Kiely has expressed his disappointment with the rule that prevent his young star forward Cathal O’Neill from lining out for the county’s U20 team this week.

O’Neill came on as a substitute yesterday in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, scoring 0-2 in a valuable contribution in the senior win over Cork.

He will now be unable to feature when the counties meet at U20 level on Wednesday night in the Munster group game. Having played in senior championship, the Crecora-Manister club man is now unable to line out again for the U20 side unless the Limerick senior outfit exit their championship before the underage outfit.

O’Neill’s influence was demonstrated earlier this month when he struck 2-3, including the winning goal and point, as Limerick defeated Clare in their Munster U20 opener.

On the opposite side yesterday, Cork fielded a player eligible for the U20 team in Ciarán Joyce, but he didn’t line out in their game against Clare last Wednesday night.

Kiely insists they could have managed O’Neill’s schedule if he featured for both teams.

“It’s disappointing that we’re penalising our best players. We could make this work. Managements could make this work in the modern era. We monitor their loads for everything they do: if they go the gym or they’re with the 20s. We can make these things work.

“It’s a pity they’ve gone down this route because I don’t believe it’s the issue of burnout. These players, we look after. If Cathal was playing Wednesday night he wouldn’t be training with us on Tuesday night, clearly.

“He’d be rested until then and he came on today and played 10, 15 minutes. There’s no reason he couldn’t play on Wednesday night and at the same time not be put in danger of further injury.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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