Quinlivan, who starred at full-forward for the Tipp minors during last year’s historic march to All-Ireland glory, showed up well on his senior debut at the Clonmel Sportsfield and was rewarded for his endeavour with a late point.
But it was the introduction of last year’s captain and leading marksman Barry Grogan that turned this preliminary round meeting with Limerick IT decisively in favour of the hosts.
Grogan’s first touch after coming on with just over 20 minutes remaining saw him pop over the first of his four successive points as Tipp, who came from two points down to level at 2-7 apiece, turned up the heat to move into a five-point lead.
LIT pulled a goal back in stoppage time through Joe Dowling but it was a mere consolation as Tipperary boss John Evans watched his charges get their 2012 competitive season off to a winning start.
Tipp, who haven’t won this competition since 2003, will meet Waterford IT in the last eight, with the winners to play Limerick or UCC in the semi-finals on January 22.
Tipp did it the hard way, however, as LIT led by 2-6 to 2-5 at half time, having trailed by eight points on two separate occasions.
Goals from Conor Sweeney and Philip Austin, from a penalty, had Tipp in cruise control and leading 2-5 to 0-3 before Eoghan O’Connor and Seamus Carroll netted for LIT.
Evans admitted: “I was quite worried to be honest. They [LIT] have a good bit of work done. Coming in, trying to get your lads together in one week and trying to get them playing football [is difficult]. It’s grand to talk about it in theory but different in practice.
“They came out and looked like they would pull away from LIT very easily but LIT were good and fit.
“They came back at us and made us work very hard. But it was good to go in at half time a point down and get our fellas to focus a bit. We’ll need another two or three weeks to get it right.”
Evans handed senior inter-county debuts to Clonmel Commercials starlet Quinlivan, John O’Callaghan from Ballyporeen and the Ryan brothers from Kilsheelan-Kilcash, Thomas and Eoghan.
Scorers for Tipperary: P Austin 1-2 (1-0 pen, 0-1f); B Grogan 0-4; C Sweeney 1-0; P Acheson 0-3; H Coghlan, S Carey, B Fox & M Quinlivan, 0-1 each.
Scorers for Limerick IT: J Dowling 1-1; E O’Connor & S Carroll 1-0 each; J Burke 0-3f; D Heffernan, S Malone, M Hallissey (1f) & K Larkin, 0-1 each.
TIPPERARY: M O’Donnell; A Morrissey, P Codd, D Lynch; J O’Callaghan, T Ryan, L Egan; E Ryan, H Coghlan; S Carey, P Acheson, B Fox; C Sweeney, M Quinlivan, P Austin.
Subs: B Jones for Carey (ht), B Grogan for O’Callaghan (49), B O’Brien for Sweeney (58), D Butler for E Ryan (60), E Connolly for Morrissey (69).
LIMERICK IT: D Clohessy (Clare); S Bolton (Clare), B Hartnett (Clare), N Gaughan (Sligo); S Malone (Clare), D O’Sullivan (Cork), C Talty (Dublin); T McCarthy (Limerick), D Heffernan (Offaly); M Hallissey (Kerry), K Larkin (Clare), J Dowling (Clare); E O’Connor (Limerick), J Burke (Clare), S Carroll (Limerick).
Subs: E Lenihan (Kerry) for Hallissey (60), G O’Gorman (Clare) for Burke (60), S Leneghan (Cork) for Bolton (68).
Referee: J Lynch (Kerry).