Both managements have had to rebuild their squads, given there were very few survivors from last year’s panels; Liam Healy is the only Cork player from the present team who started the semi-final defeat to Limerick last summer, while Jack Prendergast and Billy Nolan were first-team regulars for the Déise prior to their early exit. Cork confidence should be high off the back of their underage wins last summer.
Throw in is at 6.30pm after the Munster Council decision to bring the game forward by half an hour.
G Collins (Ballinhassig); P Lyons (Mallow), N O’Leary (Castlelyons), S O’Leary Hayes (Midleton); J Cooper (Éire Óg), R Walsh (Cúchulainns), E Clifford (Cloughduv); C O’Mahony (Ballinhassig), R Bourke (Ballincollig); J Sullivan (Blackrock), M Bradley (Aghabullogue), S Condon (Harbour Rovers); E Sheehan (Na Piarsaigh), J Beausang (St Colman’s), L Healy (Sarsfields).
B Kenneally (Cúchulainns), D Guiney (Shandrum), R Howell (Douglas), J Saich (Kilworth), K Murphy (Killeagh), D Gunning (Na Piarsaigh), B Buckley (Shandrum), J Geary (Shandrum), B Turnbull (Douglas).
B Nolan (Roanmore); C Curran (An Rinn), J Lacey (Dungarvan), D McGrath (Abbeyside); D Power (Passage), E Murray (Ballyduff Upper), M O’Brien (Ballinameela); E McGrath (Butlerstown), HR Redmond (Ballygunner); J Prendergast (Lismore), D Guiry (Fourmilewater), C Curran (Brickey Rangers); M Mahony (Ballygunner), N Montgomery (Abbeyside), T Douglas (De La Salle).
The Limerick team features three members of the Ardscoil Rís side which lost out to St Kieran’s in the recent Croke Cup decider. Darragh Carroll will line out at centre-forward, Brian Ryan to his left, with Conor Boylan occupying the right corner-forward berth. Clonlara’s David Fitzgerlad was also on that Ardscoil team and he is expected to line out for Clare. Others to watch out for on the Clare side are Gary Cooney and Sean O’Loughlin.
M O’Kelly (Croom); B Nash (South Liberties), W O’Meara (Askeaton), B Timmons (Murroe-Boher); J Adams (Ballybrown), C O’Connor (Kilmallock), F Hourigan (Murroe-Boher); C Nicholas (Monaleen), C McCarthy (Kilmallock); K Hayes (Kildimo-Pallaskenry), D Carroll (Newport), B Ryan (South Liberties); C Boylan (Na Piarsaigh), A Barrett (Kilmallock), M O’Dwyer (Monaleen).
J Power (Monaleen), C Flahive (Mungret), P O’Riordan (Bruff), C Magnier Flynn (Killeedy), D Minihan (Ahane), C O’Grady (Hospital-Herbertstown), M O’Grady (Knockainey), J Ryan (Doon), D Woulfe (Kilmallock).
Tyrone are chasing back-to-back provincial titles; their opponents, meanwhile, have not triumphed in Ulster at U21 level since 1999.
Monaghan, off the back of their quarter-final hammering of Fermanagh, issued yet another statement of intent when clipping Armagh by 13 points in their semi-final last week. The winners finished with nine different scorers, chief among them were Fearghal McMahon (1-2), Barry McGinn (0-4) and Conor McCarthy (0-4). The sole concern would be the lack of serious examination they have been subjected to over the course of their two games.
Tyrone have no such concerns in this regard having been pushed all the way by Cavan and Donegal. The All-Ireland champions found themselves in arrears at half-time against Donegal last week, but responded to a Donegal goal early in the second half with seven points in a row (1-15 to 2-8 it finished). Ryan Coleman and Lee Brennan led the attack and will take watching, Brennan in particular.
Tyrone’s poor start was their second of the campaign. They’ll know themselves that there may be no road back if they make it three on the bounce this evening.