GAA – Limerick seek three in a row versus Tipperary

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1 June 2014; Paul Browne, Limerick, in action against Gearóid Ryan, Tipperary. Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship, Semi-Final, Tipperary v Limerick, Semple Stadium, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
Paul Browne, Limerick, in action against Gearóid Ryan, Tipperary.  Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

THE LIMERICK hurlers will be looking to make it three wins in a row against Tipperary this Sunday in the Gaelic Grounds, as TJ Ryan’s men entertain the Premier County at 4pm.
In what will be the 67th meeting of the two teams in Championship hurling, Limerick will look to secure their third Munster final in a row, having defeated Eamon O’Shea’s side in the 2013 and 2014 semi finals.
Ahead of the game, Limerick manager TJ Ryan is hopeful of having a healthy squad to pick from, with Nicky Quaid the only long term injury ahead of the RTE televised clash.
“The main injury concerns are Gavin O’Mahony (hamstring) and Paul Browne (shoulder). I would be happy at this point, that we should be able to call on a full deck,” Ryan commented.
On the Tipperary side, defender John Meagher is definitely out, while John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer is a late doubt for the game with an ankle strain.
Tipperary, last season’s All Ireland finalists, are bidding to reach their first Munster final since 2012, while Limerick are looking that trio of appearances, which has not been achieved since the glory days of the 1994-95-96 seasons.
With a game under their belts, Limerick, at home, will be slight favourites for the game, something which TJ Ryan disgrees with.
“You can argue both sides of the coin on this one. They would have had an extra month of training on us. It can be said that it is advantage us and it can be said that is will be an advantage to Tipperary too. Home advantage can be huge for us, if we make it count. There is an extra little bit of pressure there, but that is a good thing. “
The good run of form that Limerick are on, at present, against Tipperary, is something that Ryan is wary of. With only 23 wins from the previous 66 meetings and with only three wins over Tipperary since 2000, Ryan knows that history will stand for nothing come 4pm on Sunday afternoon.
“If we are saying that this season’s league is history, then we have to admit that the last two seasons are history too. This is a new championship, it’s a new semi  final. The prize is big for the winner. A place in a Munster final is a huge thing to be focused on. They are the current favourites for the All Ireland, so we are under no illusions. Our lads have worked hard and I would like to think we will improve from the last day. It’s a Munster semi final. There will be a huge home crowd, I am looking forward to it,” added Ryan.
With the Clare game being such a tactical battle, Limerick selector and coach Paul Beary knows that this weekend will see a return to a more traditional style of hurling from both sides.
“It was a tactical warfare against Clare, which both sides had anticipated. There was a long lead in time to that game too. There was more preparation for it too. One can expect a different type of game against Tipperary. They would be traditionally attack minded and it should be more of a 15 on 15 type of game. It should be a different type of game in terms of how we prepare ourselves.”
The final words ahead of the much anticipated clash are left to the passionate TJ Ryan.
“We are at home. We are playing one of the best teams in the country, so we need to go out and give these lads a good rattle.”
The winners will play Waterford in the Munster final on July 12.