Munster Champions Limerick face Galway this Saturday in the All Ireland U21 semi-final.
The U21 hurlers have carried the Summer for long suffering Limerick hurling supporters. This evening, Pat Donnelly’s side will look to add to their 2015 title. In their way lie a relatively unknown Galway side who will be trying to bridge a six year gap since they last claimed an U21 crown.
Limerick will be going into the tie as 1/6 favourites after some very impressive outings in the Munster championship against Tipperary, Clare and Cork.
Galway on the other hand, are pretty much unknown given that they haven’t had to play a game yet but still have some superb hurlers to choose from most notably, senior star Conor Whelan.
On top of Whelan, Galway have the likes of Shane Cooney, Thomas Monaghan and Jack Grealish to call on who made it to the U 21 final last season eventually losing out to a very strong Waterford side.
Despite coming into the semi final under the radar, Limerick will not be taking this talented Galway side lightly. Sporting Limerick chatted with Matt O’Callaghan as part of our weekly GAA review.
Matt believes Limerick are wary of Galway.
“When you think of Galway it’s what you know about them and what you don’t know about them, what we do know about them is that they’ll be all good hurlers.
“All have been through the mill of All Ireland semi-finals and All Ireland finals at minor level.”
You can hear Matt’s thoughts in full on the link below.
O’Callaghan reiterated that Galway are an unknown entity coming into the tie which can cause problems for teams sometimes
“What we don’t know about them, they’ve played no game, we just don’t know what kind of a combination they’re going to come up with.
“Limerick can expect a vibrant challenge.”
O’Callaghan is confident that Limerick have faced some sturdy challenges especially Cork in the Munster Final which he thinks will prepare them for the Tribesmen.
“Limerick are ideally placed going into it, insofar as that they got a real stern test from Cork.
“It was a test Limerick badly, badly needed going into an All Ireland semi-final.”
From the outset, Limerick were favourites for the Munster Championship this year and with such a talented forward line at their disposal they didn’t disappoint in their opening two games against Clare and Tipp and came away with strong wins.
The final against Cork was a different matter but Pat Donnelly’s men came away with a satisfying win. O’Callaghan doesn’t want Limerick to look too far ahead but admits any side that who has beaten Tipperary, Clare and Cork en route to an All Ireland Semi Final has a right to be confident.
“We don’t want to jump ahead of ourselves and think about Kilkenny” he said
“Tipp, Clare, Cork, Galway, Kilkenny, nobody could dispute your right to be champions if you were to come out on top after that campaign”
Following on from solid display in the Munster final, O’Callaghan was delighted with how they performed as a team and picked out two players in particular that impressed him:
“Reflecting back on the Munster final I think whats most pleasing from the management point of view and from a Limerick supporters point of view were the performances again of the two midfield lads, Colin Ryan and Robbie Hanley, who have been excellent throughout the campaign”
O’Callaghan also highlighted Limerick’s defence. After not being made to work against Tipp or Clare in the opening rounds, Cork put them to the pin of their collars but Limerick responded to the challenge.
“6 marks out of 6 for the defence who were excellent against cork”
“they were’t really tested against Clare or against Tipp but by god when they were tested against Cork tehy showed up and they delivered”
Let’s hope this team can extend our Summer for another few weeks. Throw in at Thurles is 6pm for what promises to be an epic game of hurling. TV coverage on TG4 and radio community on Limerick’s Live 95fm.