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9 things to know about the Tipperary and Limerick U21 hurlers

The two teams meet tonight in the quarter-final of the Bord Gáis Energy Munster U21 hurling championship.

Tipperary's Dan McCormack with teammate Justin Cahill and Limerick's Shane Dowling.
Tipperary's Dan McCormack with teammate Justin Cahill and Limerick's Shane Dowling.
Image: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Tonight
Bord Gáis Energy Munster U21HC
Quarter-Final
Tipperary v Limerick
Semple Stadium, 7.30pm
(Referee: Colm Lyons, Cork)

9. Tipperary centre-forward Dan McCormack, Limerick corner-forward Adrian Breen and Limerick substitute Jack Ahern were all part of the victorious UCC Fitzgibbon Cup panel in Pearse Stadium in March.

The Mary Immaculate College side they defeated in that decider contained Andrew Ryan and Niall O’Meara, both in action for Tipperary tonight, and Declan Hannon and William Hickey, who are both playing for Limerick.

8. When these counties met in this competition last year, it was Tipperary who triumphed in that game by 1-16 to 1-11. From the current team that game saw Andrew Ryan play full-back, Brian Stapleton start at right half-back, Justin Cahill at left half-back, Dan McCormack form a midfield partnership with Niall O’Meara, Liam McGrath play at right half-forward and Jason Forde was introduced as a substitute.

On the Limerick side last July, Alan Dempsey was corner-back, Dan Morrissey was full-back, Thomas Ryan was wing-back, Declan Hannon started at centre-back, Shane Kenny played midfield, Shane Dowling started right half-forward, Mark Carmody was left half-forward while John Fitzgibbon and Adrian Breen were both brought on as substitutes.

7. Limerick team captain Declan Hannon is in his fifth year playing in the U21 grade. But he has only tasted victory in one of his four seasons to date – the 2011 run to success in the Munster championship. Limerick lost out at the opening hurdle in 2009 (Clare), 2010 (Clare) and 2012 (Tipperary).

Limerick captain Declan Hannon.
Pic: INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan

6. There are strong links between the Tipperary senior squad and their U21 counterparts. Midfielder Niall O’Meara is a brother of senior attacker Brian, wing-forward Brian Stapleton is a brother of senior defender Thomas and corner-forward Liam McGrath is a first cousin of senior attacker Noel.

5. Limerick’s extra-time win in the 2011 Munster U21 hurling final against Cork came after a breathtaking game as they triumphed by 4-20 to 1-27. From the team that will play tonight Alan Dempsey, Declan Hannon, Shane Dowling, Mark Carmody, Adrian Breen and Barry O’Connell all featured in that decider two years ago.

4. Tipperary manager Ken Hogan is presiding over the county’s U21 hurling fortunes for the fourth successive year. 2010 was the high point of his tenure to date when a Tipperary side that featured players like current senior stars Padraic Maher, Noel McGrath, Patrick Maher, Brendan Maher and Michael Cahill, demolished Galway in the All-Ireland final by 5-22 to 0-12.

Tipperary boss Ken Hogan with Liam McGrath.
Pic: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

3. The Tipperary trio of Seamus Kennedy, Niall O’Meara and Liam McGrath all played for the county U21 football side that lost out in the Munster final against Cork by 1-17 to 0-9 in Semple Stadium in April. Both Kennedy and McGrath were on the Tipperary side that won the 2011 All-Ireland minor football title with McGrath captaining the team.

2. Limerick are managed by the county’s former long-serving defender TJ Ryan while another former senior player Clem Smith is one of his selectors. Bruree’s Peter Finn and the team’s trainer Adrian O’Brien from Kilmallock, complete the management setup.

1. The winners of tonight’s game will go forward to face Cork at the Munster semi-final stage on July 17th. If Tipperary prevail they will have home advantage for that semi-final clash but if Limerick win tonight, they will be away to Cork in that last four showdown.

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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