All Ireland winning corner-back Sean Finn maintains that no team will come through the Munster Championship unbeaten given the high level of competition within the province.
Limerick begin their Munster campaign this weekend against Cork who are hurting following their loss to Tipperary in the opening round in Pairc Ui Chaoimh.
The two sides played out a thrilling draw during the round-robin series last year and Finn admits that the result was a major turning point in Limerick’s season.
“That was a huge game for us, especially losing Declan (Hannon, injured) after 10 minutes and Aaron (Gillane, red card) after 20, and down there as well. It’s a fabulous place to play a game, it was a Saturday evening game, amazing weather and a pure cauldron.
“That was a big turning point for us, one of our biggest results. Initially you’d think ‘oh we only got a draw’ but when we analysed it we were so happy coming out of there.
“One of our other biggest results last year, for me, was against Offaly in the league. I know everyone talks about the Galway game, when we were eight or nine points down to them at half-time, and that was massive.
“But in recent years we’d have struggled against Offaly and they’d always have considered themselves capable of beating us. They’d come off a good result against Dublin, but we went down and beat them by 17 points and I think that was a shift in the culture or mindset of the team.”
Despite their eventual All Ireland win, Limerick failed to make the provincial decider in Munster, having lost to Clare in the previous round in Ennis.
Clare got their campaign off to a winning start last weekend as they edged past Waterford in Walsh Park leaving the Deise in a precarious situation as they head to Thurles for a vital game against Tipperary.
Finn insists that no team can be certain of their place in the Munster Championship given the unpredictable nature of the set-up.
“I don’t think anyone will win four in Munster this year, it’s certainly unlikely, even though that would be your dream.
“I reckon you’re likely to get through with six or even five points. You have to win two of your games at least and then see what else happens.
“It’s so competitive you can’t be concentrating on the first or the third or the last game, it’s a matter of taking every single game as it comes and getting the most you can out of each one. If you get the one point for a draw you’ll take that because, look at last year – those draws really mattered.
“Technically there’s eight points up for grabs and you take it game for game. All we’re looking at is the Cork player and the thought of grabbing those two points.”
Despite the highly-competitive nature of the new format, the 23-year-old maintains that it’s a much more enjoyable format for the players.
Limerick blooded a number of younger players throughout the National League and Finn believes that the depth of their squad will be fully tested throughout the Munster Championship.
“You could be playing once every four weeks and training hard in between, or playing tough, enjoyable, competitive games every weekend and training quite easily during the weeks because it’s so much about recovery now in the championship.
“As a player I prefer more games and I can’t see how it doesn’t benefit both the players and the supporters.
“When the conditions are good there’s no better place to be than playing championship games! With crowds of 25 to 30,0000 you’d nearly crave that every week. You can’t beat that feeling. The new Championship is giving us that.
“It tests the strength of the panel too. You can be rested, you can pick up injuries and have time to recover, so it gives lots of players championship experience which is great too.”
Limerick hurler Sean Finn was pictured at the Patrick Bourke Menswear ‘Kings Of The Game’ campaign launch in Ennis, Co.Clare. Available now from www.patrickbourkemenswear.ie, the exclusive ‘Kings Of The Game’ spring collection combines style and performance as players and fans prepare for this summer’s Championship season.