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Limerick attacking pair set to miss league campaign but captain in line for return

John Kiely saw his team defeat Cork in Saturday’s pre-season final.

Injury battles for Limerick forwards Pat Ryan and Shane Dowling.
Injury battles for Limerick forwards Pat Ryan and Shane Dowling.

LIMERICK ARE SET to plan without the injured attacking pair of Shane Dowling and Pat Ryan for their entire hurling league campaign.

Dowling has been battling with a knee injury that ruled him out for his club Na Piarsaigh’s in the county championship last autumn, missing their defeat in the Limerick senior hurling decider.

He came off the bench in Limerick’s All-Ireland semi-final loss to Kilkenny in July, his superb second-half goal unable to prevent a narrow defeat for the 2018 champions.

Doon club man Ryan, who netted in the 2018 All-Ireland semi-final against Cork but saw little game time last summer, underwent a shoulder operation in December.

Limerick boss Kiely feels the pair will ‘probably’ be marked absent for all of the league which begins on 25 January with a clash with Tipperary.

He is more hopeful about the recovery plans of Declan Hannon and William O’Donoghue with the pair back in training.

“We have a couple of guys with knocks, couple of guys with longer term injuries. Shane Dowling’s injury will probably rule him out of the league at the moment. Pat Ryan’s injury will probably rule him out of the league.

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shane-dowling-before-the-game Shane Dowling on crutches before last year's Limerick county final. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“At the same time we have to give them the time and the chance to see how the recovery goes. We will monitor that on a weekly basis. Other than that Declan Hannon is back in full training this week. (We) didn’t want to play him tonight (on Saturday v Cork) because he is coming off the back of a groin strain and he needed a bit of time to get that right.

“William O’Donoghue is coming off a bit of a niggly injury which he is shaking off but he is back in full training as well. We are gradually getting there. There is no rush, It is only 11 January.

“We are giving these players proper rehabbing and a chance to make sure that when they do play they are strong enough to withstand what will be asked of them and they don’t ended up getting injured again.”

Kiely saw his Limerick team claim the Co-Op Superstores Munster hurling league title on Saturday night when they defeated Cork by 1-32 to 0-20.

He is adamant that the competition has value.

kieran-kingston-and-john-kiely Cork boss Kieran Kingston and Limerick manager John Kiely after Saturday's game. Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

“These are pre-season games and it is a great competition from that perspective. There is a lot of value in it for all the counties that participate, giving opportunities to some of the lads who may not have gotten a major amount of game last year, maybe lads coming back from injury or the younger lads coming into the panel as well.

“I find it a great competition in that regard. I know I think if look at the crowd who turned up at the matches across the course of the competition they were very, very strong. I think there is an appetite out there for games at this time of the year and the public are anxious to get up and running themselves.

“We have the Fitzgibbon Cup to contend with. It starts tomorrow. We have got to wait to see how those teams and the players involved in those teams progress through the competition. We have got to give them the space to make a meaningful part for their college which is very important to me and all those involved in the team that the players playing Fitzgibbon get that opportunity.

“It is part of their development as players and playing for their college means an awful lot too them. So that’s really important.”

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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