They play off in a round robin series with the winner going forward to make up the four semi-finalists.
The word is out that Waterford have one of the best teams in years and are expected to test the mettle of defending champions Tipperary in Semple Stadium.
Their team includes five players from De La Salle, who made a huge impression in this year’s Irish Examiner Dr. Harty Cup, giving eventual champions St. Colman’s one of their toughest games.
The experience gained by Wayne Hutchinson, Shane O’Sullivan, James Quirke, John O’Connor and Tommy Power should stand them in good stead, but the player likely to have most influence for the Decies is centre-back Liam Lawlor.
He was majestic in the colleges “B” championship with Clonmel High School and drew rave notices from those who know their hurling in Tipperary during the recent Munster final against Borrisoleigh. A player of outstanding ability, if Lawlor is on song, Waterford could cause an upset.
Cork will include five of last year’s team, Brian Clifford, Mark Harrington, Brendan Barry, Maurice O’Sullivan and Brendan Ring for their clash with Clare in Kilmallock. There is only one St. Colman’s player on the team, Michael Allen at left half forward. Clare include three members of the St. Flannan’s team beaten by Colman’s in the Harty Cup final replay, corner back Barry Guinnane, right corner forward Danny O’Halloran and left corner forward Niall Dunne.
First round games are very difficult to call, but Cork with a third of last year’s team included, will start favourites against the Banner county.
Limerick will be expected to have matters all their own way against Kerry in Bruff, particularly because of the inclusion of Patrick Kirby who was one of the stars of St. Colman’s recent Harty Cup final success. *All games have a 6.30 pm throw-in and extra time will be played if necessary.
TIPPERARY (MH v Waterford): D. Egan (Kildangan); I. Delaney; (JK Brackens), JB McCarthy (Golden -Kilfeacle), P. Stapleton (Borris-Ileigh); B. O’Sullivan (Thurles Sarsfields), B. Hanly (Lattin-Cullen), C. Hayes (Kildangan); P. Ryan (Sean Treacys), K. Bergin (Killenaule); D. Sheppard (Moycarkey-Borris), D. Morrissey (Galtee Rovers), S. Cleary (Borrisokane); C. Larkin (Borrisokane), R. Ruth (Thurles Sarsfields), C. O’Brien (Eire Og Anacarty).
WATERFORD (MH v Tipperary): D. Ryan (Mount Sion); M. O’Gorman (Abbeyside), W. Hutchinson (Ballygunner), M. Doherty (De La Salle); M. Whelan (Clonea), R. Lawlor (Four-mile-water), I. Flynn (DLS); S. O’Sullivan (Ballygunner), J. Kindergan (Abbeyside); M. Hoban (DLS), J. Quirke (DLS), J. O’Connor (do.); T. Power (Ballygunner), D. Hickey (Brickey Rangers), N. Ó Murchú (An Gaeltacht).
CORK (MH v Clare): K. Barry (St. Vincents); E. O’Sullivan (Ballyhea), N. Horgan (Glen Rovers), M. Foley (Carrigtwohill); S. O’Neill (Bishopstown), M. Aherne (Ballinhassig), B. Clifford (Lisgoold); D. Lucey (Bandon), M. Harrington (Douglas); B. Barry (Killeagh), B. Coleman (Ballyhea), M. Allen (Ballygiblin); M. O’Sullivan (Ballyhea), A. Ó hAilpín (Na Piarsaigh), B. Ring (Youghal). Subs. E. O’Sullivan (Carrigaline), M. McCarthy (Blarney), S. Cronin (St. Marys), B. Sheehan (Millstreet), B. Sheehan (Doneraile), R. Conway (Bishopstown), P. Cronin (do.), S. Flannery (Carrigtwohill), D. Dorris (Glen Rovers), A. O’Connor (St. Marys), B. Canty (Valley Rovers),
CLARE (MH v Cork): C. Devitt (Newmarket-on-Fergus); M. Liddane (Sixmilebridge), E. Collins (Killanena), B. Guinnane (Clarecastle); B. Bugler (Whitegate), M. Hawes (Cratloe), A. Kilmartin (Newmarket-on-Fergus); M. O’Hanlon (do.), P. Donnellan (O’Callaghan Mills); N. McMahon (Crusheen), C. Laferty (Kilnamona), A. Bridgale (Crusheen); D. O’Halloran (Tulla), T. Kierse (Clarecastle), N. Dunne (do.). Subs. S. Murphy (Cratloe), J. Clancy (Clarecastle), D. O’Halloran (Clooney), B. Gaffney (Newmarket-on-Fergus), J. McInerney (do.), S. Torpey (Tulla), A. Page (Clarecastle), S. O’Brien (Smith O’Briens), B. McNamara (O Gonnelloe), A. Griffey (Clarecastle), R. Shanahan (Newmarket-on-Fergus), A. Liddane (Sixmilebridge), R. Keane (Eire Og Inis).
LIMERICK (MH v Kerry): M. Fitzgerald (Doon); C. Quinn Na Piarsaigh), H. Foster (Bruff), S. Fitzgerald (Fedamore); N. morrissey (Kildimo), O. Benson (Dromin-Athlacca), D. Moloney (Doon); J. Hargrow (Staker Wallace), P. Kirby (Knockainey); C. O’Brien (Bruree), E. O’Leary (Dromin-Athlaca), P. Cregan (Croom); R. Ryan (Doon), S. Ryan (Dromin-Athlacca), P. russell (Monaleen). Subs. D. Óg Murray (Croom), B. Butler (South Liberties), P. McNamara (Nurroe-Boher), D. Breen (Na Piarsaigh), P. Hyland (Garryspillane), L. Costelloe (Adare), C. Mullane (Glenroe), D. Kett (Murroe-Boher).