Manager Liam Cahill is satisfied that his Tipperary Minor Hurling team has “sharpened and improved” since their quarter-final win over Waterford as they prepare to entertain Clare in the Munster Championship semi-final at Semple Stadium at 7.30 this Thursday evening, writes Eamonn Wynne.
“Everybody knows we have to improve an awful lot to progress”, said the Ballingarry man.
“We looked very lethargic and sluggish against Waterford and I thought we were quite fortunate to get through but we showed great resilience to battle to the end and win a tight match”.
The team, which is captained by Stephen Quirke of Moyle Rovers, was grateful for a goal from Portroe’s Ruadhan Mulrooney to see off a dogged Waterford side. That game was played at the beginning of April and with ten players sitting exams Liam Cahill said they had done as much as they could since then.
“We’ve played some good competitive challenges against Kilkenny, Laois and the county U-21s and a lot of work has been done with the county U-17 development squad”.
Tipperary go into Thursday night’s test with the benefit of a championship game, which is an advantage over their opponents who are making their first appearance in the championship.
“Even though it was a couple of months ago it’s good to have had that game under our belt and it’s a plus”, he said.
Although they’re playing their first match he said that Clare had five or six of last year’s side that beat Tipperary in Ennis. “They’ve a lot of the key players who caused us trouble so it won’t be easy”, and the Tipp boss also said that Clare had some good results in recent challenges.
This is a must-win game - the winners advance to the Munster Final on July 12 (the curtain-raiser to the senior final between Tipperary and Waterford) and the All-Ireland championship while the losers will be out of the championship. Both counties are seeking their first appearance in a Munster Minor Hurling Final since they met at that stage in 2012 when Tipperary won by 1-16 to 1-12.
“The last couple of weeks have been good. We’re confident that we’ll put our best foot forward and hope that the supporters will come out to support us and make Thurles as intimidating as possible”, Cahill added. His selectors are Sean Corbett (Durlas Óg), TJ Ryan (Clonoulty-Rossmore) and John Sheedy (Portroe), while Toomevara’s Michael Bevans is the trainer/coach.
The referee will be Cork’s Joe Larkin and if necessary extra time will be played.
The other semi-final between Limerick and Cork will be played at the Gaelic Grounds next Thursday, July 2.
THREE CHANGES ON TEAM
The Tipperary team shows three changes in attack from their quarter final win over Waterford. In come Garry Ryan, Tommy Nolan and Lyndon Fairbrother, as management sets out its stall to redress last year’s defeat to the same opposition.
The team is Padraic Hayes (Ballingarry), Enda Heffernan (Clonoulty/Rossmore), Emmet Moloney (Drom/Inch), James Quigley (Kildangan), Jack Skehan (Holycross/Ballycahill), Brian McGrath (Loughmore/Castleiney), Daragh Peters (Kilruane MacDonaghs), Daragh Carey (Templederry Kenyons), Alan Tynan (Roscrea), Liam McCutcheon (Templederry Kenyons), Stephen Quirke (captain, Moyle Rovers), Garry Ryan (Borrisokane), Tommy Nolan (Drom/Inch), David Gleeson (Ballinahinch) and Lyndon Fairbrother (JK Brackens).