Limerick v Tipperary, Sunday, 2pm, Gaelic Grounds
History will be made this weekend in the Munster Championship when the first-round robin games will take place on Sunday. A packed Gaelic Grounds is expected in what promises to be thrilling encounter between two good sides. Tipperary have been there or thereabouts at the business end in the championship over the last few years, while Limerick this season have emerged into a superb side under John Kiely, indeed they beat Galway to promotion in division 1b this season.
Limerick will look to players like Cian Lynch, Grame Mulcahy, Declan Hannon and Shane Dowling, while Tipperary have talent sprinkled all over the side with Padraic and Ronan Maher, John and Noel McGrath, Jason Forde and Seamus Callanan (who is expected to make a return here).
The sides have met 68 times in the championship, with 66 of those games coming in Munster and the remaining two in 2009 in the All-Ireland semi-final and 2004 in the All-Ireland qualifiers. Tipperary have the upper hand with 35 wins, Limerick have 23 and there have been 10 draws. The sides last met in 2016, when Tipperary won by two points.
LAST FIVE CHAMPIONSHIP MEETINGS
2016: Tipperary 3-12 Limerick 1-16 (Munster semi-final)
2015: Tipperary 4-23 Limerick 1-16 (Munster semi-final)
2014: Limerick 2-18 Tipperary 2-16 (Munster semi-final)
2013: Limerick 1-18 Tipperary 1-15 (Munster semi-final)
2012: Tipperary 2-20 Limerick 1-19 (Munster quarter-final)
Tipperary topped 1A with three wins from five games before they beat Dublin in the quarter-final. Limerick won all five games in 1B and beat Clare in the quarter-final. Tipperary went on play Limerick in the semi-final winning 2-31 to 1-31 after extra time, before they lost out to Kilkenny in the final.
Speaking to GAA.ie Michael Ryan said, ‘Traditionally games between Limerick and Tipperary are 50-50, there is no advantage, you fight for everything’’. He said it’s an absolute bonanza in terms of the amount of good quality games that will be on show in the Munster championship.
Limerick manager John Kiely told the Limerick Leader ‘’Two things will be important in this championship – one is freshness and for us I thought it was important that the players went away from us for two weeks to come back with that freshness because we have been together all Winter and had a long league campaign going to the semi-final”.
Limerick (Munster SFC v Clare): Donal O’Sullivan; Garrett Noonan, Sean O’Dea, David Connolly; Paul Maher, Cillian Fahy, Gordon Browne; Darragh Treacy, Patrick Begley; Peter Nash, Michael Fitzgibbon, Paul White; Sean McSweeney, Danny Neville, Jamie Lee.
Subs: James Brouder, Oran Collins, Daniel Daly, Colm McSweeney, Iain Corbett, Josh Ryan, Tommy Griffin, Tony McCarthy, Killian Ryan, Davey Lyons, Padraig Scanlon.
Looking at the betting Tipperary are 1/2 to win this game, with the Shannonsiders at 2/1, while the draw looks a good bet at the usual 10/1. I expect the game to be close, when the sides last met there was a 2-point difference in the championship, I again expect a similar winning margin here, therefore I would take Tipperary to win by 1-3 points at odds of 7/2. Limerick to be leading at half time and Tipperary to win is 4/1 and that might also be worth a bet. I would also back John McGrath or Padraic Maher to get man of the match.