Tipperary’s Minor Footballers will begin their championship season next Wednesday evening, 13th, when they play Limerick in the Munster quarter-final at Kilmallock at 6.30.
As preparation for the campaign the panel has taken part in the Leinster League, which has given them valuable match practice against Meath, Longford, Carlow, Westmeath and Kildare.
Colleges and club matches meant they were without some players for some of those games but manager David Power (Kilsheelan/Kilcash) is nonetheless pleased with the vaulable match practice that the League provided.
Tipp have doubts over two players ahead of next week’s game. Cashel’s Dylan Fitzell has a collarbone injury while Loughmore’s John McGrath - a brother of senior hurling star Noel - is struggling with an ankle ligament injury.
“Every team gets injuries and we just have to get on with it”, says the manager.
They can call on four players from last year - Bill Maher (Kilsheelan/Kilcash), Conor O’Sullivan (Galtee Rovers), Oisin Flynn from Ardfinnan and Loughmore’s Liam McGrath. Four players - Maher, Niall O’Sullivan (Moycarkey/Borris), John McGrath and Liam McGrath - are also on the Minor hurling panel.
Tipp also have 12 players who were on the county U-16 team that won the county’s first Munster title in the grade last year.
“We played Limerick in the U-17 Daryl Darcy tournament final last October, and although we beat them by 6 points we know we’ll have a tough battle on our hands next week. I hope if we can play to the best of our ability we’ll emerge with a positive result”, says David Power, whose selectors are Tadhg Duggan (Arravale Rovers), Pat Murphy (Kilruane MacDonaghs) and Fergal McDonald (JK Brackens). The coach is Cahir’s Alan O’Connor.
The losers next week will go into a play-off on Saturday, April 23rd, while the winners will advance to the semi-finals on Wednesday, May 18th.