Limerick v Tipperary clash confirmed for next month
By John Fogarty
Limerick and Tipperary’s Munster SHL game at the Gaelic Grounds on Friday, December 14 will be the province’s only pre-season fixture before Christmas.
Munster GAA chief executive Kieran Leddy confirmed the date of the game was agreed upon by the counties as All-Ireland champions Limerick are away on their team holiday until January 7 and Tipperary were happy to oblige.
All six Munster counties will be involved in the pre-season competition, which will comprise two groups of three and each team having a minimum of two games.
The table-toppers will progress to a January 13 final. Kerry complete the Limerick and Tipperary group while Clare, Cork, and Waterford will face off in the other division.
“We contacted all six counties to ask them if they had an interest in playing in the Munster Senior Hurling League,” Leddy explained.
“The counties contacted their various county managers and all six expressed an interest in playing in it but all expressed a preference of two groups of three with two group games and a final.
“As it happens then, Limerick are on holiday after Christmas until January 6 and 7 and they said they would be happy to play a game before Christmas to give them time to come back and play their second game and the final if they go to it.
“Most counties indicated when they can and can’t play and we have left the arrangements entirely to them so Limerick and Tipperary came to that agreement. It just so happened Limerick were drawn to play Tipperary first and both were happy to play then. That’s the only reason we have a pre-Christmas fixture: to facilitate Limerick because they wouldn’t have the time.”
The January 13 final is a similar date to last year’s decider, which was also won by Limerick. “All counties requested a two-week run into the start of the National League from the last game and whatever we could accommodate for them we were going to do so.”
Interestingly, four of the six counties said they were amenable to playing one fixture before Christmas.
Four of the province’s six counties — Cork, Clare, Limerick and Waterford — will compete in football’s McGrath Cup, Kerry’s new manager Peter Keane and Liam Kearns of Tipp having already confirmed they would not be fielding teams in the competition.
“It’s up to the counties whether they want to play in these competitions and if they won’t, we won’t run them,” said Leddy.
“But most counties would tell you they would be playing challenge matches anyway so they’re happy enough to enter them. We’re going entirely with the counties on this — we’re not imposing any competition or fixture on them.”