On Wednesday evening (July 16th) Clare host Tipperary in a Munster under-21 hurling semi-final at Cusack Park, Ennis (7.30pm).
Given their recent pedigree at the grade Clare will enter the game as favourites.
The Tipperary under-21 team, guided by manager TJ Connolly (Cashel King Cormacs) and selectors Ken Dunne (Toomevara), Niall Curran (Mullinahone) and Noel Morris (Loughmore-Castleiney), will be eager to make a big impression.
Tipperary’s 2013 campaign was reasonably successful - Tipperary beat Limerick 2-18 to 2-11 and then accounted for Cork 5-19 to 2-13 before losing to Clare (2-10 to 1-17) in the final. Clare also beat Tipperary in the 2012 decider (1-16 to 1-14) after Tipp had managed to earn wins over Cork and Limerick. You have to go back to 2010 for the Premier’s last provincial crown (the county’s 20th in all).
The Tipperary under-21 team to face Clare on Wednesday was named on Monday evening: Paul Maher (Moyne-Templetuohy), Cathal Barrett (Holycross-Ballycahill), Michael Breen (Ballina), Tom Fox (Éire Óg Annacarty), Ronan Maher (Thurles Sarsfields), John Meagher (Loughmore-Castleiney), Tomás Hamill (Moyne-Templetuohy), Séamus Kennedy (St Mary’s Clonmel), Bill Maher (Kilsheelan-Kilcash), Colin O’Riordan (JK Bracken’s), Liam McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney), Dan McCormack (Borris-Ileigh), Stephen Cahill (Thurles Sarsfields), Jason Forde (Silvermines, captain), Seán Maher (Clonoulty-Rossmore).
The substitutes include: Jimmy Maher (Clonoulty-Rossmore), Conor Hammersley (Clonoulty-Rossmore), Barry Heffernan (Nenagh Éire Óg), Dylan Fitzelle (Cashel King Cormacs), Tadhg Gallagher (Kildangan), Seán Nally (Holycross-Ballycahill), David Sweeney (Kildangan), Brian Hogan (Lorrha-Dorrha), Steven O’Brien (Ballina).
The extended panel includes: Jason Ryan (Toomevara), Odhran Floyd (Newport), Seán Hickey (Seán Treacy’s), Lorcan Egan (Loughmore-Castleiney), Mark McCarthy (Toomevara), Jack Loughnane (Kildangan), Joey Hennessey (Loughmore-Castleiney), John McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney), Conor Lanigan (Thurles Sarsfields) & Jack Peters (Kilruane McDonagh’s).
This Clare group are chasing a historic three in-a-row of Munster under-21 titles and will feature the 2013 hurler of the year Tony Kelly as well as several other senior stars.
Clare are managed by the outstanding Gerry O’Connor and Donal Moloney and in their quarter-final Clare beat Limerick 2-20 to 1-14.