Hurling supporters in for a pre-season treat as Tipperary host Dublin in MacDonagh Park, Nenagh

EAMONN O’Shea’s senior hurlers continue their series of pre-season warm-up contests when Tipperary host Dublin in a very attractive challenge game at MacDonagh Park, Nenagh (throw-in 2pm) on Sunday next, January 20th.

EAMONN O’Shea’s senior hurlers continue their series of pre-season warm-up contests when Tipperary host Dublin in a very attractive challenge game at MacDonagh Park, Nenagh (throw-in 2pm) on Sunday next, January 20th.

Anthony Daly’s Dublin side have emerged as a potent hurling force in recent years. The Dubs won the National League in 2011 while they also pushed Tipperary to the very limit in the 2011 All-Ireland semi-final.

All proceeds from this Sunday’s challenge game will go towards the promotion and development of hurling at Nenagh CBS - on the day there will be a half-time raffle for a set of signed his and hers Tipperary jerseys.

Nenagh CBS are the current All-Ireland hurling colleges champions having overcome Kilkenny CBS in the Croke Cup final. Nenagh CBS are also the current Pearse Cup under-15 champions and have won the Fitzgerald Cup within the last few years.

The proceeds from Sunday’s game will be used to develop the hurling fields within the school including drainage and the construction of permanent goal posts.

The school is also currently building an extension which includes a new woodwork room and a new canteen. The school is hoping to raise E100,000 for this extension through the ‘Leave Your Legacy’ fund.

The school has made a huge effort to contact every past student from the last fifty-plus years and each past pupil can leave a message in a time capsule which will be buried under the new extension.

Tipperary’s clash with Dublin will help Eamonn O’Shea’s men prepare for their up-coming Waterford Crystal Cup quarter-final against Limerick or Mary Immaculate College on Sunday, January 27th - that game will be held at a Tipperary venue.

Tipperary have already played two challenge matches this year. Last Sunday in Templemore the Premier beat Offaly 1-22 to 1-13.

Tipperary won by nine points in the end, but not before overcoming a one-point interval deficit (0-11 to 1-9). Séamus Callanan was outstanding for Tipperary scoring eleven points in all (0-4 from play) while wing-back Paddy Stapleton and centre-back Tomás Hamill were outstanding.

Tipperary streaked into a 0-9 to 0-3 lead inside the opening twenty minutes, but in the 21st minute a horrible bounce following a speculative Shane Dooley effort deceived Darren Gleeson in the Tipperary goal. Drawing confidene from Shane Dooley’s strike Offaly battled their way toward a narrow half-time advantage.

Tipperary, especially their combination play up front, improved significantly in the second half while the defence restricted Offaly to just four second half points. Tipperary notched 1-11 after the break.

Timmy Hammersely set up Shane Bourke for Tipperary’s goal in the 42nd minute while Darren Gleeson made two outstanding saves.

Tipperary team: Darren Gleeson (Portroe); Donagh Maher (Burgess), Paul Curran (Mullinahone), John O’Keeffe (Clonoulty-Rossmore); Shane McGrath (Ballinahinch), Tomás Hamill (Killea), Paddy Stapleton (Borris-Ileigh); Noel McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney, 0-2), Johnny Ryan (Drom & Inch, 0-2); Michael Heffernan (Nenagh Éire Óg, 0-1), Seán Curran (Mullinahone, 0-3), Adrian Ryan (Templederry Kenyons, 0-1); Shane Bourke (JK Bracken’s, 1-0), Séamus Callanan (Drom & Inch, 0-11, 0-7 frees), Timmy Hammersley (Clonoulty-Rossmore, 0-2).

Offaly: J Dempsey; D King, C McDonald, P Camon; D Mooney, K Brady, M Cleary; S Gardiner, S Ryan; C Egan, D Molloy, C Parlon (0-3); S Dooley (1-7, 0-6 frees), J Bergin (0-2), O Kealey (0-1). Subs: B Carroll for Gardiner (HT), T Carroll for Ryan (51st), D Kelliher for McDonald (54th), T Bulger for Molloy (63rd).

Referee: Anthony Stapleton (Laois).

A week previously Tipperary beat UCC 3-23 to 2-15 in their opening game of the year. That team showed six changes from the team which faced Offaly on Sunday, namely: Brendan Cummins (Ballybacon-Grange), Eoin Kelly (Mullinahone), James Woodlock (Drom & Inch), Conor O’Brien (Éire Óg Annacarty), Séamus Hennessy (Kilruane MacDonagh’s) and Brendan Maher (Borris-Ileigh).

Although the Thurles Sarsfields players (Michael Cahill, Lar Corbett, Pa Bourke & Pádraic Maher) and the Silvermines’ Jason Forde have been excused from preparations the following are also members of the panel: John Meagher (Loughmore-Castleiney), Tomás Stapleton (Templederry Kenyons), Conor O’Mahony (Newport), Gearóid Ryan (Templederry Kenyons), Patrick Maher (Lorrha), John O’Dwyer (Killenaule), John O’Brien (Toomevara), Brian O’Meara (Kilruane MacDonagh’s) and John O’Neill (Clonoulty-Rossmore).