Preview: Munster SHC: Tipperary v Limerick

May 31, 2014

Tipperary's Michael Cahill and John O'Brien with Graeme Mulcahy of Limerick. INPHO
Limerick manager TJ Ryan can't understand why his side's chances are being completely written off ahead of their Munster SHC semi-final against Tipperary.

After all, the Shannonsiders are the defending champions and Ryan reckons that fact has been lost amidst the turmoil that followed Donal O'Grady's controversial departure as joint-manager.

"We're Munster champions as of now and it's up to us to go out and defend that crown," he said during the week.

It's unlikely that Eamon O'Shea and his Tipperary players will fall into the trap of becoming distracted by the off-the-field upheaval that has undermined the Shannonsiders' prospects.

"Something like that might bring the group tighter together. We're under no illusions of what we're up against. They're Munster champions after all, and that's not won easily," Tipp star Padraic Maher opined.

12 months ago, Maher and his team-mates were on the receiving end of a 1-15 to 1-18 defeat when the two sides met at the same stage so they will be anxious to avoid a repeat result.

They went down fighting against Kilkenny in the recent HL Division 1 final and their performance that day augurs well for the campaign ahead.

It's true that O'Grady's exit could have a galvanising effect on Limerick's appetite for the battle but, at this stage, the smart money would appear to be on Tipperary booking a final ticket.

Verdict - Tipperary.

Tipperary team: tba.

Limerick team: Nickie Quaid, Seamus Hickey, Richie McCarthy, Tom Condon, Paudie O'Brien, Wayne McNamara, Gavin O Mahony, James Ryan, Paul Browne, Shane Dowling, Donal O Grady, Declan Hannon, Graeme Mulcahy, Kevin Downes, Sean Tobin.

Match details: Sunday, Semple Stadium, 4pm.

Referee: Barry Kelly (Westmeath).

Odds: Tipperary 2/7, Draw 14/1, Limerick 3/1.

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