The Premier County had far too much firepower for an LIT side with one eye on the forthcoming Fitzgibbon Cup campaign — and strewn of six inter-county stars, including 2013 hurler of the year, Tony Kelly.
LIT’s Clare contingent returned from a holiday to Cancun yesterday morning and were ruled out of the visit to Nenagh as a result.
Despite playing against a strong wind in the first half, Tipp led by 2-8 to 0-1 at half-time against a depleted LIT side who battled gamely on a poor afternoon for hurling.
Shane Bourke scored the opening goal in the sixth minute, finishing a flowing move that went through the hands of captain Brendan Maher, Conor Kenny and Seamus Callanan. And Callanan buried Tipp’s second goal from a 16th-minute penalty, after Denis Maher was fouled by a combination of Barry O’Connell and Brendan Egan.
Tipp scored 1-3 of their first-half tally from play and while that percentage lifted after half-time, top scorer John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer finished with 10 of his 12 points from placed balls.
2010 hurler of the year Lar Corbett, linked with a buyout of GAA birthplace Hayes Hotel in Thurles, came off the bench to crash home Tipp’s third goal in the final minute.
O’Shea will now bring his team to Austin Stack Park in Tralee next Sunday, for a quarter-final showdown with a Kerry side managed by Tipperary native Eamon Kelly.
“Not a great day for hurling. We had a good win but it’s very early in the year and we’re doing a lot of work at the moment,” O’Shea said. “The league is four or five weeks away. We’ll keep going like this for a while and see what happens over the next two or three weeks. We have a couple of games coming up so we’ll see how we go.”
On a difficult afternoon for LIT, Padraig Hickey finished as leading scorer for the students with 0-3, including two points from frees, with Sean O’Brien and sub Padraig Robinson also notching points from play.
Once again, last year’s captain Shane McGrath excelled at right-half-back. Corner backs Cathal Barrett and Jack Peters were solid; the pair have broken through from the underage ranks to stake a claim for a place in O’Shea’s league panel.
The Kilruane MacDonaghs man has some big decisions to make over the next few weeks before he finalises a squad of players for the league campaign.
And O’Shea acknowledged: “The effort was good today. We had only 21 players today so I’m not sure how many players were injured and we have fellas playing for other colleges as well.”
Scorers for Tipperary: J O’Dwyer (0-12, 9fs, 1 65), S Bourke (1-1), S Callanan (1-0 pen), (L Corbett 1-0), D Collins, C Kenny, N McGrath (0-2 each), J Woodlock (0-1).
Scorers for Limerick IT: P Hickey (0-3, 2fs), S O’Brien, P Robinson (0-1 each).
TIPPERARY: D Gleeson; C Barrett, P Stapleton, J Peters; S McGrath, P Maher, B Maher; J Woodlock, R Maher; D Collins, S Callanan, C Kenny; S Bourke, D Maher, J O’Dwyer.
Subs: L Corbett for Bourke (ht), N McGrath for Callanan (ht), M Cahill for R Maher (67).
LIMERICK IT: A Murphy (Limerick); B Egan (Galway), C Nolan (Clare), C Ryan (Limerick); E Boyce (Clare), B O’Connell (Limerick), M Moroney (Clare); S O’Brien (Limerick), E O’Neill (Kildare); M Gennery (Tipperary), P Begley (Limerick), P Hickey (Clare); O Hickey (Clare), P Ivors (Tipperary), S McGrath (Clare).
Subs: B O’Reilly (Cork) for Moroney (29), D Gough (Clare) for Ryan (ht), P Robinson (Galway) for P Hickey (52), G Guilfoyle (Clare) for Gennery (52), J Lynch (Limerick) for O’Neill (60).
Referee: D Kirwan (Cork).