Both counties have the benefit of home advantage with Limerick facing Kerry in Newcastle west at 7pm, and Tipperary entertaining Cork in Semple Stadium at 7pm. The latter clash provokes happy memories for Tipperary manager David Power twelve months after he guided the Premier to a surprise last four success over Cork in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
“That was such a great result for us down there. But this year sees two very different teams and Cork will be coming up to Thurles looking for sweet revenge. It’s going to be a tough battle.”
Tipperary have named an unchanged side but there are several positional alterations. Donagh Leahy moves to midfield, Liam McGrath is now at right half-forward, Benny Harkin starts at centre-forward, Liam Treacy shifts in to full-forward and Billy Hewitt switches to left corner-forward.
McGrath and Treacy were members of the Tipperary minor hurling side that exited the Munster championship last week, and Power is hoping they can atone for that loss.
“We had some disappointed young men after the hurling last week. They weren’t expecting to lose that early in the season but it was always going to be tough to get back up for it after losing a terrific game the previous week against Cork. From our point of view we’ve been drilling it into the players that we can’t give Cork the start that we gave Kerry in the first round.”
Limerick boss Ger O’Connor named an unchanged team for the match against Kerry from the side that defeated Waterford in the opening round.
“Going into that Waterford game, we were a bit anxious as we didn’t know how we were going,” says O’Connor. “We got off to very good start though and settled quickly. The intensity and work rate was very good, and we got some great scores. The game gave us a very good indication of where we’re at. The bar is raised now with Kerry as they are the standard bearers. But I think they’ll bring the best out of us.”
O’Connor believes the venue choice in Newcastlewest will attract a healthy crowd from both counties.
“It’s not far from North Kerry and it’s right in the heartland of Limerick football in the west of the county. There should be a full house and a great atmosphere. A lot of our players are very familiar with the pitch from schools and club level. The pitch is in immaculate condition at the moment and it’s also a big help for us that guys don’t have far to travel. They can get home from school and head to the match rather than being stuck on a bus for a few hours. We’re looking forward to it. This is the sort of match that young fella’s want to play in and it should be a great occasion.”
Both Limerick and Tipperary will fill the role of underdogs, but O’Connor will be looking to Patrick O’Donnell, Ian Corbett and Jamie Lee to lead the way, while Paddy Dalton, Billy Hewitt and Liam Boland are shining lights for Tipperary. But Kerry with strong players like James Walsh, Mark Reen and Eanna O’Connor on board can prevail in their clash, and Cork, inspired by Tomas Clancy, Damien Cahalane and Brian Hurley get the vote to emerge from their tie.
LIMERICK: J Greaney (St Kierans); S Reynolds (Adare), S O’Connor (Fr Caseys), B McCarthy (St Kierans); M O’Leary (Newcastlewest), J O’Meara (Ballysteen), B O’Doherty (Newcastlewest); I Corbett (Newcastlewest), P Scanlon (Glin); B Noonan (Drom/Broadford), M Brosnahan (Drom/Broadford), P O’Donnell (Galbally); J Lee (Newcastlewest), D Treacy (St Kierans), D Frewen (Ballylanders).
TIPPERARY: P Nolan (Clonmel Commericials); P Dalton (Arravale Rovers), C O’Sullivan (Galtee Rovers), P O’Meara (Shannon Rovers); B Maher (Kilsheelan/Kilcash), M O’Sullivan (Ardfinnan), S Taylor (Clonmel Commercials); D Leahy (Arravale Rovers), J O’Callaghan (Ballyporeen); L McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney), B Harkin (Borrisoleigh), S Leahy (Arravale Rovers); L Boland (Moyle Rovers), L Treacy (Loughmore-Castleiney), B Hewitt (Ardfinnan).
CORK: D Hanrahan (Douglas); D Crowley (Clann na nGael), M O’Shea (Glengarriff), D Lester (Bishopstown); T Clancy (Clonakilty), J Burns (St Finbarrs), J Wall (Kilbrittain); D Cahalane (Castlehaven), J O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers); K Hallissey (Éire Óg), M Sugrue (Bandon), A Cronin (Nemo Rangers); K Sheehan (Mallow), S Duggan (Na Piarsaigh), B Hurley (Castlehaven).
KERRY: P McCarthy (Rathmore); P Kilkenny (Glenbeigh-Glencar), D Culhane (Ballylongford), F McNamara (Austin Stacks); J Walsh (Knocknagoshel), L Bastible (John Mitchels), J Hickson (Annascaul); D Somers (St Senans), G Durrant (Dingle); M Reen (Rathmore), T Hickey (Desmonds), G O’Leary (Kilcummin); G O’Grady (Glenbeigh-Glencar), S Keane (Legion), E O’Connor (St Michael’s-Foilmore).