Limerick face Kerry in Tralee after Tipperary thriller

Limerick’s U-20 footballers travel to Austin Stack Park Tralee this Thursday evening to face Kerry in the Munster Championship following a stunning win over Tipperary in Semple Stadium last week.

While Limerick were victorious over Tipperary last week in Thurles, they will no doubt be huge underdogs for the game who had 28 points to spare when these sides met in Newcastle West last summer.

Confidence is bound to be high in Jerry O’Sullivan’s camp as Limerick look to upset the odds in football once again this summer.

From the side who were hammered against Kerry last year, there are only four survivors in Cillian Ferris, Lee Woulfe, Barry Coleman and Karol Maloney.

Ferris, who is team captain and Woulfe are both injury doubts after limping off injured in Semple Stadium.

After the result in Thurles, the manager said he was quietly confident coming into the game, despite a poor run of form in the developmental league

“We seem to improve every game we play. We thought our fitness levels were good, A couple of subs came on and got a couple of crucial scores.”

Limerick were eight points down early in the second half, but Noel Callanan’s goal helped them back into the contest. O’Sullivan’s men continued to hunt Tipperary down and a point from Niall McAuliffe looked to have forced extra time. 

However, Limerick had other ideas and an outstanding ’45 deep into added time from Oola’s Jack Downey saw them to a stunning 1-13 to 1-12 victory.

Although Limerick now have the daunting prospect of facing Kerry in the semi-final, O’Sullivan is happy for the chance to test themselves against the best with Kerry having won five minor All-Ireland championships on the trot.

Limerick will have no fear coming into the game with O’Sullivan insisting that his side will head to Tralee confident of an upset.

“We have to instill that (confidence) in them. Sometimes it’s hard to motivate guys when things aren’t going well but look if you get these guys in, bit of fun at training, you’ve nothing to lose.”

12 May 2016; Limerick manager Jerry O’Sullivan before the game. Electric Ireland Munster Minor Football Championship Semi-Final, Cork v Limerick. Páirc Uí Rinn, Cork. Picture Credit: Eóin Noonan / SPORTSFILE

The reward for playing Kerry is not lost on the manager who is happy to see his players getting the opportunity having put in ample effort in training throughout the year.

“It’s great for teams to win, especially if they put the effort in. You’d like fellas to get a reward for all the effort they put in and these guys to a man have put that in and it’s great to see.”

While the grade has changed from U-21 to U-20 this year, Kerry will be looking for three-in-a-row at this age. Last year they followed up from their win in Newcastle by defeating Cork 3-11 to 0-14 in the final in Austin Park, Tralee. The game has a 7pm throw in.

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