Preview: Sundays provincial hurling championship matches:
Munster SHC round 1
Sunday 23 April
Waterford v Limerick, FBD Semple Stadium, 2pm (RTE2)
Limerick have named a formidably strong team for their first match of the Munster SHC round-robin.
William Donoghue returns after missing the League Final win over Kilkenny through suspension, while there are recalls too for Declan Hannon, Kyle Hayes and Tom Morrissey starts having only been a sub for that League Final against the Cats.
Such is the strength in depth of this Limerick panel that they can afford to leave the ultra-consistent Mike Casey on the bench. He’s replaced at full-back by Dan Morrissey.
The Limerick attack looks hugely potent now that both Cian Lynch and Peter Casey are fit again having missed much of last year’s championship, and it’s going to be a big ask for the Waterford defence to hold them.
You can be sure though that Davy Fitzgerald will have a well-thought out plan for how to down the champions, and they Deise have also named a strong looking team.
They’ll most likely need goals to win this match, and if they can get good deliveries into the likes of Michael Kiely and Dessie Hutchinson, then a shock is not beyond the bounds of believability.
LIMERICK: N Quaid; S Finn, D Morrissey, B Nash; D Byrnes, D Hannon, K Hayes; W O’Donoghue, D O’Donovan; G Hegarty, C Lynch, T Morrissey; A Gillane, S Flanagan, P Casey. Subs: J Power, C Boylan, M Casey, R Connolly, C Coughlan, R English, G Mulcahy, B Murphy, D Ó Dálaigh, C O’Neill, D Reidy.
WATERFORD: Billy Nolan, Conor Gleeson, Conor Prunty, Mark Fitzgerald, Calum Lyons, Tadhg de Burca, Jack Fagan, Darragh Lyons, Jamie Barron, Neil Montgomery, Dessie Hutchinson, Michael Kiely, Colin Dunford, Stephen Bennett, Jack Prendergast. Subs: Shaun O’Brien, Conor Ryan, Tom Barron, Carthach Daly, Peter Hogan, Kevin Mahony, Austin Gleeson, Padraig Fitzgerald, Patrick Fitzgerald, Patrick Curran, Paddy Leavey.
Clare v Tipperary, Cusack Park, Ennis, 4pm (GAAGO)
Shane O’Donnell makes his first start of the season for Clare having seen no involvement in the Allianz Hurling League.
The Clare attack averaged 30 points per match during the League without him, and O’Donnell’s addition should make them even more potent.
His inclusion means that Tony Kelly starts in midfield, from where he is capable of causing serious damage in a roving role.
This is a fascinating clash because Tipperary were a revived force under Liam Cahill in the League.
Young players like Bryan O’Mara, Gearoid O’Connor, and Alan Tynan really stepped up to the mark, and more established stars like Noel McGrath, Ronan Maher, Dan McCormack, and Patrick Maher look as hungry as ever.
There won’t be much between these teams, but if Clare can match Tipperary’s physical intensity they may have a greater cutting edge in attack.
CLARE: E Foudy; A Hogan, C Cleary, P Flanagan; D Ryan, J Conlon, D McInerney; T Kelly, C Malone; P Duggan, R Taylor, A McCarthy; I Galvin, S O’Donnell, M Rodgers. Subs: E Quilligan, C Nolan, A Fitzgerald, S Meehan, A Shanagher, P Donnellan, R Mounsey, R Hayes, C Galvin, J Kirwan, B O’Connell.
TIPPERARY (outfield panel players are listed in alphabetical order, not the positions they will play in)
Barry Hogan, Cathal Barrett, Conor Bowe, Michael Breen, John Campion, Pauric Campion, Jason Forde, Enda Heffernan, Seamus Kennedy, Mark Kehoe, Patrick Maher, Ronan Maher, Conor McCarthy, Dan McCormack, Brian McGrath, Rhys Shelly, John McGrath, Noel Mcgrath, Jake Morris, Gearoid O’Connor, Cian O’Dwyer, Bryan O’Mara, Johnny Ryan, Sean Ryan, Conor Stakelum, Alan Tynan.