LIMERICK’S U-21 hurlers bid to raise spirits on Shannonside this Thursday as they embark on their bid for Munster championship glory.
Limerick play Tipperary in the provincial semi final at 7.30 in the Gaelic Grounds, in a game that will be televised on TG4.
Limerick are bidding to reach a Thursday July 30 Munster final against Clare in Ennis.
The U-21s are the last of the Limerick inter-county side to enter championship fare and all others have fallen short in their quest for provincial silverware.
The minors do have an All Ireland quarter final on July 26 against Galway, but Munster glory rests with the U-21 hurlers.
This Thursday they welcome high-flying Tipperary to the Gaelic Grounds for the semi final clash. While Tipp come to town on the back of Munster senior and minor championship titles last Sunday, Limerick were rocked in the past week with defeat for the county senior, intermediate and minor teams.
And, the U-21 record is not encouraging.
2011 is the one shining light for Limerick at U-21 hurling level with a run of defeats either side of that success.
And, three years ago Tipperary were minor champions.
Nine members of Limerick’s back-to-back Munster minor championship winning sides are included in the county U-21 side.
Seven of the team named by John Kiely were om the starting line-up 12-months ago when Limerick lost to Clare in the Munster U-21 championship - Mark O’Callaghan, Richie English, Diarmaid Byrnes, Cian Lynch; David Dempsey, Kevin O’Brien and Pat Ryan.
Cian Lynch is the only member of the Limerick team with senior inter-county championship experience.
Diarmaid Byrnes will captain the Limerick team from wing back. The half back line is completed by Barry O’Connell and Gearoid Hegarty. O’Connell is played his fifth season at U-21 level and has a winners medal from 2011. The defensive trio is completed by Limerick senior footballer Gearoid Hegarty.
Na Piarsaigh, Doon and Patrickswell have three representatives each on the team.
Tipperary’s team includes four members of the Eamon O’Shea’s senior panel that won Munster honours last Sunday - full back Michael Breen, wing back Ronan Maher, centre back Barry Heffernan and midfielder Bill Maher.
Elsewhere, Colin O’Riordan is a key part of the Tipperary football side that take on Tyrone in next Saturday’s All Ireland SFC Qualifier. O’Riordan, Maher, Paul Shanahan and John McGrath were all part of the Tipperary U-21 football side that reached the All-Ireland final in May.
LIMERICK: David McCarthy (Glenroe); Mark O’Callaghan (Knockaderry), Richie English (Doon), Michael Casey (Na Piarsaigh); Diarmaid Byrnes (Patrickswell), Barry O’Connell (Kildimo-Pallaskenry), Gearoid Hegarty (St Patricks); Darragh O’Donovan (Doon), Pat Ryan (Doon); Robbie Hanley (Kilmallock), Ronan Lynch (Na Piarsaigh), David Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh); Kevin O’Brien (Patrickswell), Tom Morrissey (Ahane), Cian Lynch (Patrickswell). Subs: Eoghan McNamara (Doon), Sean Finn (Bruff), Sean Flanagan (Feohanagh-Castlemahon), Jody Hannon (Adare), Colin Ryan (Pallasgreen), David Condron (Granagh-Ballingarry), Liam O’Sullivan (Knockaderry), Jack Kelliher (Patrickswell), Aaron Gillane (Patrickswell).
TIPPERARY: Paul Maher (Moyne Templetuohy); Jack Peters (Kilruane MacDonaghs), Michael Breen (Ballina), Tom Fox (Eire Óg Anacarty); Ronan Maher (Thurles Sarsfields), Barry Heffernan (Nenagh Éire Óg), Tomás Hamill (Moyne Templetuohy); Bill Maher (Kilsheelan Kilcash), Stephen Cahill (Thurles Sarsfields); Billy McCarthy (Thurles Sarsfields), Paul Shanahan (Upperchurch Drombane), Willie Connors (Kildangan); Tadhg Gallagher (Kildangan), Colin O’Riordan (JK Brackens), John McGrath (Loughmore Castleiney).