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Limerick season preview 2020: Will full-back line issues cost Treaty?

Limerick have been hit with major injuries in their full-back line, helping shape the conversation around their championship hopes

Shane Stapleton and Michael Verney talk through the chances of John Kiely’s Limerick. Brought to you by OrgaRetro.com — use the promo code ‘OurGame’ for 15% off all jerseys.

Limerick have been hit with major injuries in their full-back line and will likely be without Richie English and Mike Casey for the championship.

The reigning Munster and League champions will have a new-look last line of defence this year.

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Richie English, who tore his cruciate in the February clash with Galway, is unlikely to be available to John Kiely for this season.

Another absentee from the Limerick full-back line is Mike Casey. The Na Piarsaigh man picked up a knee injury last weekend in a challenge match against the Tribe. An MRI scan is to take place this week to assess the damage.

With two-thirds of Limerick’s last line of defence gone, Michael Verney believes it will be tough for Limerick to find replacements easily in such a specialist position.

“You’ve a lot of lads that can play wing-back or midfield or go into a half-forward line but the full-back line is very specialised,” he says.

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“Particularly now, you have to be mobile, you have to be a good ball player, you have to be sticky.

“Full-backs and corner backs, it’s very hard to find really good ones so it will be interesting to see what they do there.”

Kiely will have to make adjustments to his preferred 15, and Verney has been looking at some alternatives.

“There could be a lot of re-jigging with their team. Maybe Sean Finn will go full-back or maybe he’ll stay corner back and Dan Morrissey might go back full with Barry Nash coming in at wing-back but it’s far from clear cut.”

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Whoever lines out at number three will have a tough matchup with Clare’s Shane O’Donnell first time out and if they are to get through that challenge, they will likely be tasked with the 2019 Hurler of the Year Seamus Callanan in the Munster semi-final.

Shane Stapleton believes that Paddy O’Loughlin and Aaron Costello may feature in the full-back line for Limerick with Casey and English out but notes that Kiely may look to more experienced players to make an impact:

“He will probably go with the lads who are tried and tested, the guys who are grizzled senior players that will have no issues coming in to winter hurling.”

A positive for Limerick is the news that midfielder Darragh O’Donovan is back training at full speed and will be ready to play against Clare after missing the Limerick county final for Doon last month.

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