By Brian McDonnell
TIPPERARY manager Michael Ryan is appealing to the Premier public to come out and support his intermediate hurling team when they face Limerick in Saturday evening’s Munster quarter-final at MacDonagh Park, Nenagh (7.30pm).
“We would really love to get a crowd at the match,” Michael Ryan (Fethard) told the Tipperary Star.
“I am really looking for people to come and support the team. We are expecting this Limerick team to be very good and we need that bit of support that might get us over the line.”
This hurling encounter will form the second part of an intriguing double header on Saturday in Nenagh - at 5.30pm the junior footballers take on Kerry in their respective Munster quarter-final.
Michael Ryan is joined on the management team by coach Michael Ferncombe (Holycross-Ballycahill) and selectors Seán O’Meara (Shannon Rovers) and Eamonn O’Dwyer (Arravale Rovers).
“Last year they (Limerick) were defeated in a Munster final by Clare who went on and won the All-Ireland by just two points,” explained the Fethard man.
“Last year they also had a very good under-21 team who won a brilliant Munster final. We are going to meet a very good and strong opposition in Limerick.”
For the last three years Tipperary have lost to Cork, but the panel have worked extremely hard in preparation for this encounter.
“Two years ago I was involved as a selector when Conor Gleeson was manager, but last year I took on the management job,” Michael Ryan added.
“For the last few years we have come up against good Cork teams. Last year we had done a lot of work and there was a lot of effort put in, but just on the day we didn’t perform. It was hugely disappointing. So, we’re hoping this year to rectify that.”
Michael Ryan was encouraged by the performance of his players in a challenge game against Ken Hogan’s Tipperary under-21 side last week, but is sorry to see Lorrha’s Ciarán Hough miss out through injury. James Barry and Michael Gleeson are also injury concerns.
Eddie Connolly will captain the side from centre-back while the team will also feature up-and-coming players like James Logue, Christy Coughlan, Joe Gallagher, Seán Carey, Michael Heffernan and Gerry Walsh.
“To be honest if we can play to our potential and hit form we would be very hopeful. We know that it’s not going to be easy, but we’re well prepared now. We played our own under-21s twice, we played our own seniors and we played the Offaly seniors. Hopefully with all of those games they have improved,” added Ryan.
“Because of the huge disappointment we had as the management of the team last year we said this year that we might do it a bit differently.
“We let players play with their clubs, of course, but when we had them we really put in a big effort. We said we would leave no stone unturned this year and hopefully we can progress in the championship. We are looking forward to it, big time.”
Intermediate hurling panel: Christy Coughlan (Templederry), Mark O’Meara (Kilruane), Joe Gallagher (Kildangan), Richie Ruth (Thurles Sarsfields), Tossy Lowry (Holycross-Ballycahill), Liam Dwan (Holycross-Ballycahill), Ciarán Hough (Lorrha), Niall Teehan (Gortnahoe-Glengoole), Orrie Quirke (Silvermines), Bobby Bergin (Clonakenny), Kevin O’Gorman (Thurles Sarsfields), David Butler (Drom & Inch), Seán Carey (Moyle Rovers), Michael Heffernan (Nenagh Éire Óg), Evan Sweeney (Loughmore-Castleiney), John Sheedy (Portroe), David O’Connor (Borris-Ileigh), Kieran Morris (Moycarkey-Borris), Damien O’Brien (Burgess), Ronan Sherlock (Silvermines), Michael Gleeson (Thurles Sarsfields), Eddie Connolly (Loughmore-Castleiney), James Barry (Upperchurch-Drombane), James Logue (Ballingarry), Gerry Walsh (Carrick Swans), Paudie Whyte (Clonoulty-Rossmore), Paudie O’Dwyer (Éire Óg Annacarty) & Michael Butler (Drom & Inch).
Tipperary have not won a Munster junior football title since Nenagh Éire Óg’s Kevin Coonan captained the Premier to provincial glory in 1998, but manager Jim O’Meara is confident that his junior footballers are more than capable of beating Kerry in Saturday’s quarter-final.
“To be honest we’re expecting to win next Saturday evening,” a determined Jim O’Meara told the Tipperary Star.
“We’re not just going out just to turn up. We do have one or two injuries, but if we have a full team we’re confident enough that we are capable of getting the win.
“We’re hoping that people will come out and support the footballers. We have been putting a lot of work in; the players have been putting a lot of work in and to be honest we feel that they deserve a bit of support. And, hopefully we will be able to give them something to shout about. We know we’re playing Kerry and we’re under no allusions about what we’re facing, but we have the work done and we’re confident without being over-confident.”
O’Meara (Grangemockler-Ballyneale) is joined on the management team by coach Thomas Anglim (Fethard) while Willie Tarrant (Galtee Rovers), Jim Healy (Loughmore-Castleiney) and Joe Hannigan (Shannon Rovers) act as selectors.
Following on from the success of the minor and under-21 teams in recent years Jim O’Meara is now hoping that his junior footballers can do their bit to help raise the profile of the game in Tipperary: “the profile of Tipp football teams has increased and these players are no different to any other Tipperary team. We expect them to win.
“There are plenty of guys there who have ambitions of playing senior for Tipperary in the next year or so. So, that is driving them on. You have to have ambition.”
Tipperary have lost their opening game in the Munster junior football championship for the past three years (2009 v Limerick, 2010 v Kerry & 2011 v Kerry), but Jim O’Meara is hopeful that players like Richard Power (captain), Martin Dunne, Eoin Ryan and Damien O’Brien can inspire Tipp to a famous win over the Kingdom.
“I would like to see them get the result that they deserve. They have been a joy to work with. I just hope now that they can get the result that their efforts deserve. We have been honest with them and they have been honest with us.”
Tipperary junior football panel: Jack English (Ballyporeen), Colm Sweeney (Kilsheelan-Kilcash), Robert Murphy (Grangemockler-Ballyneale), Michael O’Sullivan (Ardfinnan), Richard Power (Moyle Rovers), Eddie Kenrick (Cahir), Eoin Shine (Rockwell Rovers), Thomas Hanley (Aherlow), James McGrath (Cahir), Billy Hewitt (Ardfinnan), Benny Hickey (Cahir), Adrian Walsh (Kilsheelan-Kilcash), Michael Dillon (Fethard), Brian Quinn (Burgess), Gavin Ryan (Rockwell Rovers), Daniel O’Regan (Ardfinnan), Colm O’Brien (Burgess), Niall O’Sullivan (Moycarkey-Borris), Pat Hally (Rockwell Rovers), Tony Flanagan (Moycarkey-Borris), Eoghain Ryan (Kilsheelan-Kilcash), Damien O’Brien (Eire Og Annacarthy), David Buckley (Inane Rovers), Ger Mulhaire (Arravale Rovers), Shane Stapelton (Golden-Kilfeacle), Martin Dunne (Moyle Rovers), Padraig Whelan (Cahir).