And we’re off and running.
Speaking to several Limerick supporters during the week, they’re quite bullish about their chances. But then again if you are not bullish for the first round then when are you? Looking at league form there are arguments for and against John Allen’s men tomorrow.
Against, well, there’s the fact that though they were operating in only the second division (albeit called Division 1B), they failed to win the only games they played against Munster opposition, losing twice to Clare. Their neighbours went on to lose heavily to Kilkenny in the league semi-final proper, which – you might say – puts Limerick’s standing well down the hurling pecking order.
Tipperary, meanwhile, lost their league semi-final against Cork, who then also went down to heavily to Kilkenny, in the league final. So perhaps that perspective favours Limerick? Perhaps Tipperary aren’t as much ahead of their neighbours as we thought?
Looking at more recent events, the return of Lar Corbett to the fold is a huge boost to Tipperary on a series of levels. Yes, he has lost several months of training but Lar isn’t the type to put on much weight, he won’t have lost any of his searing pace, nor will he have lost that killer instinct, that nose for goal that sets him apart from most others. He may not be ready to play a full part, but he will play a part.
On the other hand, Limerick have lost one of their talismen, defender Seamus Hickey, while the standout forward of their early-season games, Adare’s Declan Hannon, is of doubt even if named in the subs. Limerick needed everyone fit for this, and they needed everyone to be on their game. These setbacks don’t augur well for their chances. Additionally, they have an almost entirely new spine to their team, Richie McCarthy (full-back), Donal O’Grady (centre-back), Conor Allis (centre-forward) all making their championship debuts starting in those positions, while full-forward Kevin Downes has struggled to find the form of last year. I hope Limerick get over all those problems, I hope this is a good game but the vote goes to Declan Ryan’s men.
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