Limerick face Tipperary in the Munster U21 Hurling Championship for the third successive year tonight in the Gaelic Grounds at 7.30pm. In 2015, Limerick overcame their Munster rivals 3-16 to 3-14 in the Ennis Road venue en route to winning the All Ireland Championship. Tipperary avenged the loss last year with a hard fought 2-12 to 1-13 victory.
Limerick still have a number of that 2015 side at their disposal and will head into the game as slight favourites. Among that All Ireland winning side that remains are Cian Lynch, Sean Finn, Ronan Lynch, Colin Ryan, Robbie Hanley, Aaron Gillane, Tom Morrissey, Barry Nash and Peter Casey.
Indeed Lynch, Finn, Gillane, Morrissey, Nash and Casey all featured against Clare in the senior Championship earlier this month. In addition Kyle Hayes, who was very impressive in his senior debut starts at centre back for Pat Donnelly’s side.
Tipp in contrast only have two members of Michael Ryan’s senior side to call on, in goalkeeper Brian Hogan and Billie McCarthy in midfield. Yet six of last years team that defeated Limerick remain and four of the 2016 minor All Ireland champions squad are named from the start.
Despite Limerick naming a vastly experienced side for the U21 grade, there will be little between the sides. In 2015 Tipperary came in as favourites and were dispatched. Last year Limerick as All Ireland Champions were seen as unbeatable and were soundly accounted for. On paper Limerick look stronger and should have enough to reach the Munster semi final but matches are not won on paper.
If you can’t make it to the game, TG4 have live coverage while Limerick’s Live95fm are also doing full commentary on the game.
Follow @SportingLK on twitter for score updates.