There were some impressive individual displays across the second weekend of the 2023 National Hurling League!
Micheal Houlihan (Limerick)
While John Kiely has certainly built depth in his panel in recent years, there has not been significant change to the starting XV since their breakthrough season of 2018.
Houlihan put in a performance against Clare that will definitely have the management thinking, and he looked at home at senior inter-county hurling.
The Kilmallock man scored 0-12, 0-8 of which came from placed balls. He took the fight to the Banner, and his accuracy helped the Treaty ease clear of their visitors at the TUS Gaelic Grounds.
His neat flick also set the wheels in motion for Limerick’s sublime team goal.
It will be interesting if he can continue this impressive form throughout the rest of the League campaign.
Conor Lehane (Cork)
In an ultra-competitive panel as far as starting forward roles are concerned, Lehane did his chances no harm whatsoever with a tally of 2-3 for the Rebels against Galway in Salthill.
The Midleton marksman scored a goal off either side, in what was a clinical display. He also played a crucial role in the build-up to Seán Twomey’s first green flag, dispossessing Pádraic Mannion in an act which will certainly have pleased manager Pat Ryan.
After a disappointing outing against the Tribesmen last summer, when he was substituted at half-time in the All-Ireland quarter-final, Lehane’s performance on Sunday was one of gritty determination. He will be hoping to build on it in the coming weeks.
David Reidy (Clare)
Reidy was not in Brian Lohan’s starting team on Saturday night, but his cameo from the bench will ensure that will change the next day out.
He sent a loud message to the management with a contribution of 1-2 after replacing Mark Rodgers in the 56th minute. There was a notable increase in energy up front for Clare upon his introduction, and he injected a real spring into their step.
Of course it was too little, too late to reel Limerick in, but Reidy’s display helped to put some respectability on the scoreboard, as the final margin of six points did little to reflect the All-Ireland champions’ dominance across the contest as a whole.