Senior experience can help Limerick edge Tipp

For those of you nostalgic for the way hurling was played before the days of tactics and game plans, for those of you who long for the time when you got real value for money at the turnstile, the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick is the place to be this evening, as Limerick face Tipperary in the first semi-final of the Bord Gáis Energy Munster U21 hurling championship.

Limerick are champions, a title won in glorious fashion after extra-time against Cork last year, and they are powered by eight of John Allen’s current senior extended panel.

Free-scoring Shane Dowling (a minor last year) was the only one of those to start in the All-Ireland qualifier win over Clare on Saturday but Declan Hannon, Kevin Downes and Tomás Ryan all saw action in that game. Aaron Murphy is the senior back-up goalkeeper, Mark Carmody too was held in reserve against Clare, while Seanie O’Brien starred in an earlier All-Ireland senior qualifier win, against Antrim, and both he and Mikey Ryan (along with Carmody) saw league action.

Corner-back Alan Dempsey and centre-forward Niall Kennedy were also members of last year’s team, several more from that panel — all in all then, a strong base from which to defend.

Tipperary meanwhile have just Seán Curran — hero of their quarter-final win over Cork — from Sunday’s Munster senior title-winning panel, which would suggest that they are serious underdogs here. But it doesn’t work like that, of course. There’s massive strength in depth in Tipperary hurling at the moment, a county on a high, and in the corresponding minor fixture three years ago they had a comfortable win over Limerick (1-21 to 0-11 at the Gaelic Grounds).

Tipperary have nine of that team starting again here, Limerick however have had a much bigger turnover, only six from that minor side of 2009 on their starting 15 for this evening, along with then-substitute Dowling.

Trying to get a form-line is impossible, given that this will be Limerick’s first competitive appearance of the season, but Tipperary did very well to beat a Cork side which itself was bristling with senior talent. At this level, though, it’s all about progress and while there is no question but that the Tipperary youngsters face a far greater challenge in trying to break onto the senior team, it’s difficult to overlook the fact Limerick won this title last year with so many of this team involved and are fancied to edge a step closer to retaining that title tonight.

LIMERICK: 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.

Verdict: Limerick

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.