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Ronan Maher of Tipperary in action against Seamus Flanagan of Limerick during the 2018 Munster Senior Hurling Championship.
Ronan Maher of Tipperary in action against Seamus Flanagan of Limerick during the 2018 Munster Senior Hurling Championship.

Preview: Limerick v Tipperary Munster SHL

Friday, December 14

Munster Senior Hurling League round 1
Limerick v Tipperary Gaelic Grounds, 7.30pm

Both Limerick and Tipperary have named strong teams for tonight’s Munster Senior Hurling League Round 1 clash at the Gaelic Grounds.

The Limerick starting XV will included eight of the team that started this year’s All-Ireland Final victory over Galway - goalkeeper Nickie Quaid, defenders Sean Finn, Richie English and Declan Hannon, midfielder Cian Lynch and forwards Gearoid Hegarty, Aaron Gillane and Graeme Mulcahy.

Five other starters from the All-Ireland Final are on the bench – Diarmaid Byrnes, Kyle Hayes, Seamus Flanagan, and Dan and Tom Morrissey – so the only absentees are the injured Darragh O’Donovan and rested Mike Casey.

There’s no debutant in the Limerick team, but defenders William O’Meara and Paddy O’Loughlin and centre-forward Barry O’Connell will be keen to lay down an early marker after being fringe members of the panel last season.

It’s a strong looking Limerick outfit but Tipperary have also picked an experienced outfit that includes six of their 2016 All-Ireland winning team in James Barry, Seamus Kennedy, Michael Breen, Ronan Maher, Dan McCormack, and Seamus Callanan.

One of the most noteworthy aspects of the Tipp selection is the positioning of Maher at centre-forward.

He’s starred in the past as both a half-back and midfielder for Tipperary, but this is the first time he’s featured in attack for his county. He has proven with Thurles Sarsfields in the Tipperary club championship this year though that he knows how to take a score when he's pushed forward.

Sheedy has named two 2018 All-Ireland winning U-21 players in his team - Colin English at wing-forward and Mark Kehoe – and another two – Jake Morris and Killian O’Dwyer – on the bench.

It might be deepest, darkest, December and a long way off from the height of the 2019 championship, but this match is still an intriguing one.

The strength of both teams should ensure a good contest, Limerick will be keen to put on a show in their first match as reigning All-Ireland champions in front of what should be a big crowd, and the Tipperary players will be fired up to make an early positive impression on Liam Sheedy.

Limerick’s selection is more proven, but don’t be surprised if Tipp spoil their home-coming party.

Limerick (Munster SHL v Tipperary): Nickie Quaid; William O’Meara, Sean Finn, Richie English; Paddy O’Loughlin, Declan Hannon, Andrew La Touche Cosgrave; Cian Lynch, Colin Ryan; Gearoid Hegarty, Barry O’Connell, David Reidy; Aaron Gillane, Graeme Mulcahy, Pat Ryan.

Subs: Barry Hennessy, Tom Condon, Lorcan Lyons, Aaron Costello, Ronan Connolly, Diarmaid Byrnes, Dan Morrissey, Michael O’Brien, Robbie Hanley, Tom Morrissey, Kyle Hayes, Conor Boylan, Barry Murphy, Oisin O’Reilly, Seamus Flanagan.

Tipperary (Munster SHL v Limerick): Brian Hogan; Sean O’Brien, James Barry, Donagh Maher; Barry Heffernan, Seamus Kennedy, Tom Fox; Michael Breen, Willie Connors; Colin English, Ronan Maher, Dan McCormack; Jason Forde, Seamus Callanan, Mark Kehoe.

Subs: Barry Hogan, Cathal Barrrett, Jerome Cahill, Cian Darcy, Padraic Maher, Patrick Maher, Mark McCarthy, Brian McGrath, Jake Morris, Joe O’Dwyer, Killian O’Dwyer.

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