Limerick face league semi-final showdown with Tipperary

Cathal O'Neill in action against Wexford on Sunday.

AN EARLY dress-rehearsal of their Munster Senior Championship encounter (Semple Stadium, Thurles, on May 21) will take place this Saturday evening when Limerick and Tipperary engage in the semi-final of the Allianz National Hurling League at the TUS Gaelic Grounds (7.30pm). 

Limerick made certain of qualification for the last four with a straightforward home defeat of Wexford on Sunday. 

“It was a very unsatisfactory game really,” commented winning manager John Kiely to Live 95. “It failed to ignite. It was like a game that just never got going and it lacked intensity, it lacked rhythm, and it lacked flow.” 

He added: “We’ve a fantastic game now to look forward to and a really tough challenge ahead of us, playing the form team of the league. Our axe is going to be well sharpened this week as we’ve a huge task on our hands. 

“And if we weren’t still left in the league, we’d be going off looking for challenge matches. You need these sort of matches to be championship ready. To be still in the league is the best possible preparation for championship.”

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Limerick are aiming to qualify for a 23rd final, having won the competition outright on 13 previous occasions, the most recent of which was in 2020. 

Kiely will name his staring selection this Thursday night, in the midst of new injury concerns around Cian Lynch and Seán Finn. 

Tipp have impressed in the league to date, late through the likes of Bryan O’Meara, Enda Heffernan, Ronan Maher, Gearóid O’Connor, Seán Ryan, and 2016 All-Star John McGrath. 

Liam Gordon of Galway will referee. 

The other semi-final involves Cork and Kilkenny at Nowlan Park on Sunday (4pm). 

Meanwhile, Limerick and Clare – who meet at Cusack Park, Ennis, on Sunday – have both already been relegated from Division Two of the National Football League.  

After the weekend, Mark Fitzgerald’s Limerick will next taste competitive action against either Cork or Waterford in the Munster Championship on Saturday, April 22.