On May 20 Limerick welcome Tipperary to the Gaelic Grounds in the opening game of the 2018 Munster Championship. With the restructure of the championship both sides will know how crucial it will be to pick up an opening day win. Limerick haven’t reached a Munster final since 2014 but have called up a number of last years All Ireland U21 winning squad.

These sides met at the end of March in the League Semi Final with Tipperary coming out on top after extra time. Tipperary looked to have won the game in regular time before a lat comeback by the Treaty men. In the end two Jason Forde goals would prove crucial as Tipp would reach the decider. Ahead of the game, Limerick captain Declan Hannon has reiterated the importance of the Tipperary clash in the Gaelic Grounds.

“For all teams the first fixture is huge. If you get off to a winning start it sets you up and if you lose you’re on the back foot straight away. We can’t wait, its after coming around very quickly.”

It’s in at home and Limerick supporters are fantastic to get out and get behind all teams so I presume there will be a huge Limerick contingent on the day.”

It really is a boost to all us players to hear them and see them and the colour in the Gaelic Grounds or wherever it may be.”

With the introduction of so many young players over the years, the average age of the squad is extremely young for Inter-County level. Yet, Hannon, an elder statesman of the squad has noticed a newfound maturity level in the team in 2018 which is consistent with the excellent results picked up so far this year..

“We’ve matured a lot as players over the years. I think the average age of the panel is close to 21 or 22 which is very young for a senior team but over the past 18 months since the new management came in the maturity levels have been so different.

We’re quite resilient this year, there’s a real desire to win, whether it’s a training match or whatever it may be, there’s a real want to win.”

See the full interview with Decaln Hannon ahead of the Tipperary game on our YouTube channel.

Video link”https://www.youtube.com/embed/LlyFElEfDMM?rel=0