Limerick bid for Munster glory, but Tipp lie in wait

LIMERICK bid to salvage something from a season that has gone horribly wrong when their intermediate hurlers clash with Tipperary in the Munster final at Thurles tonight.

This is their last chance of some hurling silverware but they face a county riding high on the success of their seniors and U21s and it will take a massive effort.

Tipperary make one change from the side that defeated Cork in the semi-final. Ronan Sherlock, from the Silvermines club, takes over at left corner back from Michael Phelan.

The Premier County have won seven titles at this level since records first began in 1962. Their last was 2002 when they beat Waterford in the final. Limerick won the title twice, 1968 and 1998, when they beat Tipperary 2-11 to 0-15 at the Gaelic Grounds.

Limerick have made three changes from the side that defeated Clare. Gearóid O’Leary, Peter O’Reilly and Denis O’Connor replace Brian McCarthy, Peter Harty and Don Hanley.

Because of their victory over Clare, who beat holders Waterford in round one, Limerick should have a slight edge in tonight’s final. Their team is very experienced with former senior stalwart Ciarán Carey at full-back, while Damien Moloney, outside him, is surely a future senior, along with Alan O’Connor, who captains the team from left-corner forward.

Tipp have also opted for youth and experience. Centre-back Jim Bob McCarthy was a senior panellist not too long ago and won a Munster U21 medal in 2006. Evan Hanley did the same in 2004, while Patrick Maher won a minor medal last year.

On their way to the final, Tipperary defeated Cork in Páirc Uí Chaoimh in the semi-final with a powerful second-half display. However, it took a Jody Ryan goal from a penalty at the three-quarter stage to eventually see off the Cork challenge. It ended 1-21 to 0-17 in Tipp’s favour. Cathal Dillon finished the game with six points, all from play, and he’ll need minding tonight if Limerick are to have any chance of bridging that 10-year gap.

Home advantage should give Tipperary a head start, but they’ll have to play to the peak of their powers to see off what is sure to be a very determined Limerick challenge.

TIPPERARY (IHC v Limerick): M. Ryan (Templederry Kenyons); L. Mackey (Carrick Davins), M. Costello (Drom & Inch), R. Sherlock (Silvermines); E. Hanley (Lattin-Cullen), JB McCarthy (Golden-Kilfeacle), J. Lillis (Thurles Sarsfields); T. Minogue (Templederry Kenyons), M. Harding (Golden-Kilfeacle); N. Hogan (Lorrha-Dorrha, capt.), C. Dillon (Aherlow), G. Ryan (Templederry Kenyons); J. Ryan (Sean Treacys), D. Morrissey (Galtee Rovers), P. Maher (Lorrha)

LIMERICK (IHC v Tipperary): B. Hennessy (Kilmallock); T. Condon (Knockadery), C. Carey (Patrickswell), G. O’Leary (Dromin/Athlacca); D. Stapleton (Doon), Damien Moloney (Effin), S., Walsh (Glenroe); A. Brennan (Caherline), P. O’Brien (Kilmallock); David Moloney (Blackrock), P. O’Reilly (Patrickswell), D. O’Connor (Granagh/Ballingarry); D. O’Neill (South Liberties); P. McNamara (Murroe/Boher), A. O’Connor (Ballybrown).

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