Premier gear up for title defence

Reigning Munster and All-Ireland champions Tipperary can call upon just three starters from last year’s All-Ireland final replay win over Dublin as they begin their Munster MHC campaign with a quarter-final against Waterford at Walsh Park tonight (throw-in 7pm).

Right half-back Barry Heffernan (Nenagh Éire Óg), midfielder Tom Fox of Éire Óg Annacarty/Donohill and Toomevara’s Mark McCarthy at corner-forward are the only survivors for William Maher’s side.

The Déise side features four players who won All-Ireland colleges medals with Dungarvan Colleges as they Kilkenny CBS last Saturday, with Dungarvan duo Kevin Daly and Patrick Curran named at right half-back and right corner-forward respectively, Bunmahon’s Micheál Harney left half-back and All-Ireland-winning captain Tom Devine (Modeligo) at midfield.

Clare, beaten by Tipp in the 2012 Munster final, have only four of the team which began that game as they visit Páirc Uí Rinn to face Cork, (7pm). Right half-back and captain Aidan McGuane, midfielder David Conroy, right half-forward Bobby Duggan and corner-forward Conor Deasy remain. Cork, who have only beaten Kerry in the past two campaigns, have six of last year’s starters: keeper Patrick Collins, defender Killian O’Connor, midfielder Michael Cahalane and forwards Kevin O’Neill, Pa O’Callaghan and Anthony Spillane.

CLARE (MH v Cork): L Corbett (Corofin); S O’Leary (Cratloe), D McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona), N Bolton (Tulla); A McGuane (Kilmaley), E Tuohy (Feakle), S Gleeson (Cratloe); D Conroy (St Joseph’s Doora Barefield), C Downey (Clonlara); B Duggan (Clarecastle), I Galvin (Clonlara), S Ward (Clarecastle); C Deasy (Sixmilebridge), D Begley (Clonlara), C Moloney (Kilmaley).

CORK (MH v Clare): P Collins (Ballinhassig); S O’Brien (St Catherine’s), K O’Connor (Mallow), K Histon (Cobh); M O’Keeffe (Fr O’Neills), C Twomey (Newtownshandrum), C Cormack (Blackrock); M Cahalane (Bandon), R Cahalane (Ballymartle); P Kelleher (Kilmichael), K O’Neill (Watergrasshill), T Horgan (Newcestown); A Ward (Douglas), P O’Callaghan (Ballyhea), A Spillane (Castlelyons).

TIPPERARY (MH v Waterford): B Hogan (Lorrha-Dorrha); A Tierney (Shannon Rovers), J Ryan (Toomevara), D Peters (Kilruane MacDonaghs); B Heffernan (Nenagh Éire Óg), R Maher (Thurles Sarsfields), T Kirwan (Ballybacon Grange); T Fox (Éire Óg Annacarty/Donohill), W Connors (Kildangan); S Ryan (Seán Treacys), C O’Riordan (JK Brackens), S Hennessy (Nenagh Éire Óg); C Lanigan (Thurles Sarsfields), J Keane (Golden-Kilfeacle), M McCarthy (Toomevara).

WATERFORD (MH v Tipperary): S Clancy (Clonea); W Hahessey (Clonea), S O’Neill (Erin’s Own), C Leamy (Ballyduff Upper); K Daly (Dungarvan), A Gleeson (Mount Sion), M Harney (Bunmahon); M O’Brien (Ferrybank), T Devine (Modeligo); S Bennett (Ballysaggart), C Roche (Shamrocks), A Farrell (De La Salle); P Curran (Dungarvan), DJ Foran (Portlaw), M Kearney (Ballyduff Upper).

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