Premier boss Hogan wants U21 rethink

TIPPERARY U21 boss Ken Hogan feels greater consideration should be given to the scheduling of the Munster hurling championships, as his charges prepare to face Waterford in tonight’s provincial quarter-final — just three days after the county senior side defeated Cork.

Four of the Tipperary U21 side were involved in Declan Ryan’s senior setup last Sunday, and while Noel McGrath was the only player to feature in the Semple Stadium clash, Hogan believes that the system needs to be changed.

“I think the ideal solution would be that whatever counties play in the senior quarter-final at the end of May, should get byes into the U21 semi-finals which don’t take place until July. It’s tough going for Noel, Paddy (Murphy), Brian (O’Meara) and John (O’Neill). They’ve been with the seniors this season and we’ve had very little access to them. But we met up on Monday night and they’re looking forward to this game.”

Tipperary are forced to line out without Thurles Sarsfields player Denis Maher who has a broken collarbone while Moycarkey-Borris attacker Kieran Morris has a similar injury. But Hogan can still call on 10 players who played some part during last September’s All-Ireland U21 decider. Ciaran Hough, Kevin O’Gorman and James Barry start in defence, McGrath and Joe Gallagher are the midfield partnership while Murphy, O’Meara, John O’Dwyer, Adrian Ryan and O’Neill get the nod in attack. With stars from the 2010 team like Padraic and Brendan Maher overage, Hogan admits they now face a different challenge.

“We had a brilliant run last year but we’ve now lost big names from that side. We do have some survivors from that starting 15 and the lads who have come in have done well. It’ll be an interesting battle as Waterford have very good credentials. Their minors have been successful in the past few years, De La Salle have done well at colleges and they’ve had very good results in recent challenge games.”

Waterford manager Fergal Hartley has had his own injury woes to contend with. Key attackers Maurice Shanahan and Brian O’Halloran are sidelined with arm and hamstring injuries respectively, while Mark Wyse has a hamstring problem and Fionnan Murray is out with an ankle knock. Despite that, the Déise U21 lineup is still crammed with senior panellists like Stephen O’Keeffe, Noel Connors, Daragh Fives, Eamonn Murphy and the Mahony brothers, Philip and Pauric. Minor stars John Barron and Jake Dillon are also included in the starting 15. Former senior defender Hartley has enjoyed his first year in inter-county management but has admitted it has been difficult, with all the other commitments his players have had.

“I’ve really enjoyed the buzz of being back at inter-county level and I’ve a great team around me in Tom Feeney and Derek McGrath. It has been difficult with all the other teams our players are involved in between senior, minor and club. But despite our preparation being fragmented, we’re still looking forward to what is going to be a huge test against the reigning All-Ireland champions.”

TIPPERARY U21H: P Ryan (Upperchurch-Drombane); C Hough (Lorrha and Dorrha), K O’Gorman (Thurles Sars), S Maher (Thurles Sars); B Stapleton (Templederry Kenyons), J Barry (Upperchurch-Drombane), P Heffernan (Clonoulty-Rossmore); N McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney), J Gallagher (Kildangan); S Curran (Mullinahone), P Murphy (Éire Óg Nenagh), B O’Meara (Kilruane McDonaghs); J O’Dwyer (Killenaule), A Ryan (Templederry Kenyons), J O’Neill (Clonoulty-Rossmore).

WATERFORD U21H: S O’Keeffe (Ballygunner); J Barron (Fourmilewater), N Connors (Passage), P Prendergast (Lismore); Philip Mahony (Ballygunner), D Fives (Tourin), S Daniels (De La Salle); S Roche (Mount Sion), M O’Neill (Mount Sion); E Murphy (Dunhill), A Brophy (St Saviours), Padraic Mahony (Ballygunner); B O’Sullivan (Ballygunner), E Madigan (De La Salle), J Dillon (De La Salle).

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