Declan Hannon lifting the trophy for Limerick after the 2022 Munster hurling final. Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO

Limerick's five-in-a-row charge and Waterford's provincial woes - A Munster hurling guide

The42 looks at each county competing in the Munster SHC.

THE MUNSTER HURLING championship begins this weekend with another intriguing round-robin series on the way.

Defending champions Limerick are aiming to complete a provincial five-in-a-row while Waterford are still seeking qualification out of the competition since the round-robin format was first introduced in 2018.

Tipperary are targeting a first Munster SHC title since 2016 while Clare must look back as far as 1998 to recall their last provincial success. Cork’s most recent Munster hurling triumph was in 2018.

With all that said, as the Round 1 ties loom, let’s consider the possibilities for each team.


john-kiely-arrives Limerick manager John Kiely. Tom Maher / INPHO Tom Maher / INPHO / INPHO

Manager: John Kiely

Captain: Declan Hannon

Fixtures: Waterford [Thurles], Clare [Home], Tipperary [Away], Cork [Home]

All available evidence would suggest that Limerick are the outright favourites for Munster honours in 2023. The All-Ireland champions have already picked up some crucial silverware this year after a devastating performance against Kilkenny in the Division 1 final earlier this month.

Moreover, John Kiely’s side are even stronger this year following the return of Cian Lynch and Mike Casey from their respective long-term injuries.

Limerick will begin their Munster defence with a trip to Thurles where they will face Waterford. Last year’s Munster finalists Clare are up next in a home tie before closing out their campaign against Tipperary and Cork. 


tony-kelly Clare captain Tony Kelly. Lorraine O’Sullivan / INPHO Lorraine O’Sullivan / INPHO / INPHO

Manager: Brian Lohan

Captain: Tony Kelly

Fixtures: Tipperary [Home], Limerick [Away], Waterford [Thurles], Cork [Home].

Clare’s long wait for a Munster title is entering its 25th year. Few of the panel members will even remember that glorious period for the Banner county. They have contested three of the last six Munster finals but have fallen short on each occasion.

Brian Lohan’s side come into this championship on the back of mixed league results but they are set to receive a major boost as ace forward Shane O’Donnell is expected to make his first appearance of the season this weekend.

Clare, whose 2022 championship ended with a bruising defeat to Kilkenny in the All-Ireland semi-final, will face Tipperary in a tricky Munster opener on Sunday. Their second outing against Limerick at the end of the month will present an even tougher assignment for Lohan’s charges. Should Clare manage to carve out wins from both of those games, they will take a considerable step towards ending their Munster SHC drought.


ronan-maher Tipperary in action against Cork last year. Evan Treacy / INPHO Evan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Manager: Liam Cahill

Captain: Noel McGrath

Fixtures: Clare [Away], Cork [Away], Limerick [Home], Waterford [Home].

The 2022 Munster championship is one the Tipperary hurlers would rather forget. Zero wins from four fixtures condemned the Premier County to an early exit from both the provincial and All-Ireland competitions. Their difficulties were punctuated by the subsequent departure of Colm Bonnar as manager. At the time of his exit, Tipperary GAA said he had been “relieved of his duties.”

With Liam Cahill now at the helm, Tipp appear to be progressing well having reached the Division 1 semi-finals last month. Losing out to Limerick by just three points certainly bolsters their chances of a more fruitful Munster championship in 2023.


robbie-oflynn Robbie O'Flynn. Evan Treacy / INPHO Evan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Manager: Pat Ryan

Captain: Sean O’Donoghue

Fixtures: Waterford [Home], Tipperary [Home], Clare [Away], Limerick [Away]

A third-place finish in last year’s Munster round-robin deprived Cork of any provincial silverware, but it did assure them a safe passage to the All-Ireland preliminary quarter-finals.

Similar to Tipperary, Cork also reached the league semi-finals this year where they were pushed out of contention by Kilkenny after a testy encounter. A big melee developed between the opposing sides in the first half as Kilkenny emerged with a six-point win.

Pat Ryan had a raft of injury concerns heading into that tie including captain Seán O’Donoghue [dead leg] and Robbie O’Flynn who previously suffered a dislocated ankle. 

O’Donoghue is reportedly still a doubt for Cork’s Munster opener against Waterford, while Mark Coleman is a long-term absentee with a knee injury. Those key losses in personnel could hamper Cork’s chances at achieving provincial glory.


davy-fitzgerald Waterford boss Davy Fitzgerald. Bryan Keane / INPHO Bryan Keane / INPHO / INPHO

Manager: Davy Fitzgerald

Captain: Jamie Barron & Stephen Bennett joint-captains

Fixtures: Limerick, [Thurles], Cork [Away], Clare [Thurles], Tipperary [Thurles].

Waterford are the only county who have yet to qualify out of the Munster SHC round-robin series. Their only reprieve came in the Covid-affected 2020 championship where the Déise contested the Munster final after the championship was reformatted to a knock-out system. Waterford managed to march on to the All-Ireland final that year.

They go into the 2023 Munster championship with a familiar face at the helm, as Davy Fitzgerald returns to the role he previously held between 2008 and 2011.

Waterford were overwhelming favourites for Munster honours last year after capturing the Division 1 title. However, they failed to convert their league form into championship silverware, a fate they will certainly hope to avoid in 2023. In any case, qualification from the round-robin — in any capacity — will be their main aim.

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