Six senior panellists (goalkeeper Aaron Murphy, half-backs Declan Hannon and Tom Ryan, forwards Shane Dowling, Mark Carmody, Kevin Downes) from last Saturday’s All-Ireland qualifier win over Clare, two more (midfielder Seanie O’Brien and forward Mikey Ryan) who have also seen senior competitive action.
Given that those eight will be on a high after the win against Clare, given also that Tipperary have just one player (Seán Curran) from the senior panel that won Sunday’s Munster final, it would appear the odds are stacked in favour of the home side. Appearances, however, can be deceptive. Having so many players training with the top team does suggest a particularly rich crop this year but, as pointed out by selector and former star Ollie Moran, it also means preparations are seriously disrupted.
“It’s very hard in that situation to get a team to knit together. In fairness to the seniors they have their own job to do and they’re doing it well but we can’t then be making demands on those players who are already out two or three times a week. It’s a huge impediment.
“You don’t have as much time to work with those senior players, you don’t have as much time to gel them as a team, while they themselves don’t get any time either to adjust to the other guys on the panel. They go into the dressing room on the evening of the match and it’s sink or swim.”
There’ll be nothing negative about Tipperary’s approach as they go for a Munster grand slam – senior and minor already in the bag, now U21 and intermediate to go.
“There’s a feelgood factor in Limerick after last Saturday night, everyone very upbeat, but there’s a feelgood factor in Tipperary as well,” warns Ollie.
The Tipperary team shows one change from the team which defeated Cork in the first round, Cian Hogan replacing the injured David Collins.
LIMERICK (U21HC semi-final v Tipperary): A Murphy; A Dempsey, D Morrissey, S O’Reilly; R Egan, D Hannon, T Ryan; S Kenny, S O’Brien; S Dowling, N Kennedy, M Carmody; M Ryan, K Downes, W Griffin.
TIPPERARY: P Ryan; S Maher, A Ryan, P Ryan; W Ryan, B Stapleton, J Cahill; D Maher, D McCormack; J O’Dwyer, S Curran, N O’Meara; E Murray, C Hogan, L McGrath.