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Friday 3 February 2023 Dublin: 12°C
Tommy Dickson/INPHO Tipperary and Limerick players battling for possession.
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5 talking points after Tipperary triumph again and Limerick's hurling woes continue
A two-point success for the Premier in Thurles.

1. Tipperary stay flying high

Tonight’s success was a further injection of confidence for Tipperary hurling. They’ve been getting plenty of those recently with Michael Ryan’s senior side destroying Waterford to claim silverware last Sunday and Liam Cahill’s minor team blowing away Limerick to win their own title.

William Maher ensured his U21 team were not forgotten about. They brilliantly thwarted Limerick’s challenge, overcoming the handicap of not having a competitive game to date this season.

Plenty of these Tipperary players had bad memories of Limerick from the U21 encounter last summer and the corresponding minor game in 2013. They banished those defeats tonight.

2. Limerick’s woes continue

With their senior team having exited the 2016 race last Saturday night and uncertainty created following the departure of TJ Ryan from the senior hotseat, Limerick could have done with a timely hurling boost tonight. They saw Waterford get a strong response last night in Walsh Park but endured more suffering themselves tonight in Thurles.

This defeat is a big setback considering they had 10 starters from last year’s All-Ireland U21 winning side. Limerick’s team is packed with talent – as evidenced by the flashes of brilliance they produced in last month’s quarter-final victory over Cork – but tonight they fell flat and never hit full speed. It was a hugely disappointing outcome for Limerick hurling.

Ronan Maher with Barry Nash Tommy Dickson / INPHO Limerick's Barry Nash and Tipperary's Ronan Maher Tommy Dickson / INPHO / INPHO

3. Subs prove key for Tipperary

Unlike last night’s first Munster U21 semi-final, this was no lopsided contest with the outcome not assured until the final whistle. It was a tough contest on a sodden night for hurling yet when both sides needed something extra to edge them into the winners enclosure, it was Tipperary’s subs who provided that spark.

Jason Ryan was introduced in the 47th minute while Ronan Teehan entered the game in the 55th minute. But Ryan still found time to rifle over a pair of points and Teehan chipped in with 1-1, including the game breaking goal.

Tipperary outscored Limerick 1-5 to 1-3 in the last quarter with their replacements responsible for 1-3 of that tally. It was a significant salvo.

Tipperary Celebrate after the game Tommy Dickson / INPHO Tipperary's subs celebrate after the game. Tommy Dickson / INPHO / INPHO

4. Limerick’s attack misfire 

When Limerick swept to All-Ireland U21 glory last September, they amassed a stunning tally of 0-26. It was a night when everything clicked for them and 0-24 of that total was struck by players on the pitch for John Kiely’s team tonight. Posting 3-19 against Cork in late June was further proof of Limerick’s scoring capabilities.

But tonight they misfired in attack. Limerick only shot 1-4 from play and that goal arrived deep in injury-time courtesy of Darragh O’Donovan. They hit ten wides – seven of those costly shot in the opening period – and only notched a single point from play after the interval.

Limerick’s entire full-forward line were substituted by the third quarter mark as well. It was a difficult night for flowing attacking play in the conditions. Limerick also collided with a strong and well-drilled Tipperary rearguard, on a night when their U21 hopes for the season went up in smoke.

5. A novel final awaits

Tipperary and Waterford may frequently face off in Munster senior deciders but on the U21 stage, their forthcoming battle on 27 July will be a novel one. There has only been one previous Premier-Deise U21 showpiece and that was all the way back in 1964, the inaugural year of this championship.

Tipperary have not lifted this title since 2010, Waterford have to go back further to 1994 for when they last sampled glory. The manner in which they crushed Clare last night and the fact that they will have home advantage will likely place Waterford as favourites.

But the impressive manner in which Tipperary took down Limerick tonight means they will not lack confidence and Waterford will need to be on their guard.

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Tipperary’s great hurling week continues as they defeat Limerick in Munster U21 semi-final

Only 5 players from Tyrone’s last Ulster final in team for Sunday’s decider against Donegal

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