Crucial game for both sides as Louth & Limerick renew rivalry

Lidl NFL Div4 – Round 3 – Louth v Limerick

Though the league is still in its infancy, this is a defining game for Limerick as another defeat will probably end their prospects of promotion as only two teams qualify for the latter stages. After an opening day loss to Carlow, the Shannonsiders got their season back on track with a big over Derry last weekend; 5-13 to 0-03.

This will be the fifth meeting between these counties in less than two years with Louth coming out on top in the early rounds in 2018 in Balbriggan and also in the league semi-final a few months later. The sides also met in that years Junior Championship final in Croke Park with Limerick taking the honours. They also met in the first round of last years points competition with the Munster side, courtesy of two late scores, winning on a 1-09 to 0-11 scoreline.

John Ryan who was in charge for those clashes has stepped down as Limerick manager with Donal Ryan taking over for the 2020 season. The Burroe-Murroe clubman will have legendary ex-Cork LGFA manager Eamon Ryan alongsiide him in an advisory role.  The former Rebels boss brings plenty of experience, and success to his new position with the Treaty girls having guided  Cork to an incredable 10 senior All-Ireland title in 11 seasons during his time in charge.

Lauren Boyle in action versus Limerick last February

Both sides are expected to be much changed from last Febuarys meeting in Askeaton with Rebecca McGuinness, Rebekah Daly, Cliodhna Ni Cheallaigh, Katie Kellan, Roisin Ambrose and Iris Kenneally the only surviours from last years panel.

Louth showing six changes from their last competitive outing last September in Croke Park, claimed a comfortable 14 point win over Antrim in Belfast in their first tie of the campaign and will be eager to make it two from two on Sunday.

There was much to admire about the Wee County performance  for new manager Wayne Freeman with captain Aoife Byrne , Lauren Boyle, Niamh Rice, Ceire Nolan and Aoife Russell in particular catching the eye.

Ceire Nolan makes a spectacular catch last week versus Antrim

A Louth win would leave them right in the promotion hunt even at this early stage. Yet despite scoring 3-10 from play against the Saffron County, the Monesterevin man believes his can get better with tougher tests to come starting with Limerick on Sunday;

“We can always improve and thats what we we will try to do leading into the Limerick game, I thought we worked extremely hard and played quite well at times (against Antrim) so we are happy about that. But its very important we move on and and concentrate on our next challenge.” Freeman said.

The game has a 2pm starting time in Cooley Kickhams GFC with Ciaran Groome (Offaly) the Referee.

Preview by Dermot Woods | Photos by Warren Matthews