Tipperary top the roll of honour in the Waterford Crystal Cup having won the title on three occasion ( 2007, 2008 and 2012) and on Sunday afternoon next in Nenagh they will hope to put themselves in a position to win a fourth when they take on UL in the semi-final.
While the Waterford Crystal Cup might not exactly get the pulses racing, it is still a very useful competition for Tipperary and Eamon O’Shea and his management team have used it to very good effect. The character of the squad of players has certainly been tested - more by the elements than the opposition, it must be admitted - but still, the level of application and commitment to the cause can be guaged and is being watched very closely by management and supporters alike.
Tipphave bagged an impressive 5-36 in two outings against LIT and Kerry, while their concession rate stands at a mean 0-13 - a big fillip for Tipp’s custodians following the departure of long serving Brendan Cummins.
Tipperary last met UL in the quarter final tie of 2012 with a 2-11 to 0-12 win coming on the strength of Pa Bourke and Brian O’Meara goals - interestingly, neither have featured so far this season, but the management have made it quite clear that the door is always open for players who are showing form.
Undoubtedly, UL are expected to give a far sterner test of Tipperary’s credentials in the game on Sunday than the Premier side has had so far and were Tipp to emerge victorious, it could set up a potential clash with All-Ireland champions Clare, who are taking on former Tipp Allstar Eddie Enright’s UCC in the other semi-final. The Fitzgibbon Cup winners of 2013 have a very decent side this year also and will give Davy Fitz’ men plenty of it when they travel to Sixmilebridge for the game.
Tipperary’s focus though will be on MacDonagh Park - the same venue as their facile win over LIT in the first round.
Supporters never really know who will take to the field in these games but it was positive to see Lar Corbett and Eoin Kelly in such good form in recent times. They have returned to the fold to add experience to the youthful squad and their presence and influence will be vital if Tipp are to lift silverware as well as glassware in 2014.
The game gets underway at 2:00pm in MacDonagh Park with Colm Lyons of Cork as referee. Patrons are advised to come in plenty of time as parking restrictions will be in place.
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