Tipperary hurling fans will have their first chance to see the county team perform under their new manager Eamonn Oâ€™Shea at a charity challenge match against University College Cork at Emly GAA Club at 2pm on Sunday, January 6.
The match, in aid of an extension for Emly National School, will be an interesting test of the Tipperary teamâ€™s form after the winter break.
There are several Cork and Waterford senior hurlers on the UCC side, which currently holds the Fitzgibbon Cup for winning the All-Ireland third level colleges hurling championship.
Catherine Oâ€™Heney of Emly National School Board of Management said there was a lot of excitement and anticipation surrounding the game in the village.
â€œWe applied to the Tipperary County GAA Board to host a match and they were very favourable towards us. We are just delighted they offered us this game - the teamâ€™s first under their new manager,â€ said Catherine, who is the parents representative on the schoolâ€™s Board of Management.
She said Eamonn Oâ€™Shea was expected to introduce a few new players to the Tipperary team in the challenge game, which will be of huge interest to fans of the Blue and Gold.
Funds raised from the match will be donated to Emly National Schoolâ€™s extension fund. The school secured â‚¬170,000 grant from the Department of Education & Skills in October for the extension of a classroom, toilets and shower but the school must pay the final â‚¬17,000 of the cost of project.
The challenge match between the Tipperary senior hurling team and UCC is the schoolâ€™s first significant fund-raiser for the extension.
Emly National School and other community organisations in the village will be pulling out all the stops to create a festive atmosphere at the match.
The school band, led by music teacher and Cork native Alan Finn, will entertain the crowd before the match.
And during the interval, a team of U-12 boys and girls from Emly National School will play an exhibition match against their neighbouring U-12 rivals from Lattin/Cullen.
Emly NS Parents Association will also run a shop at the GAA grounds on the day selling teas and coffees.
â€œIt will be a great community event,â€ said Catherine Oâ€™Heney. â€œWe have the GAA, Bord na nOg, the variety players, community council, the parents and school board of management all working together on this.
â€œWe will be having a meeting on January 2 to finalise the plans. There is a wonderful community spirit here and everyone is looking forward to the match.â€