Tipperary senior hurling manager Michael Ryan.
Michael Ryan's Tipperary senior hurling team will take on Pat Gilroy's Dublin in the quarter-finals of the Allianz National Hurling League on Sunday, March 18th at Parnell Park, Dublin (3pm).
And, Michael Ryan has named the following team to face the Dubs on their home patch:
1. Brian Hogan (Lorrha-Dorrha)
2. Alan Flynn (Kiladangan)
3. James Barry (Upperchurch-Drombane)
4. Michael Cahill (Thurles Sarsfields)
5. Barry Heffernan (Nenagh Éire Óg)
6. Pádraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields, captain)
7. Ronan Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)
8. Séamus Kennedy (St Mary's Clonmel)
9. Cathal Barrett (Holycross-Ballycahill)
10. Seán Curran (Mullinahone)
11. Billy McCarthy (Thurles Sarsfields)
12. Patrick Maher (Lorrha-Dorrha)
13. Michael Breen (Ballina)
14. Jason Forde (Silvermines)
15. Cian Darcy (Kilruane MacDonagh’s)
16. Paul Maher (Moyne-Templetuohy)
17. Willie Connors (Kiladangan)
18. Tom Fox (Éire Óg Annacarty-Donohill)
19. Tomás Hamill (Moyne-Templetuohy)
20. Brendan Maher (Borris-Ileigh)
21. Donagh Maher (Burgess)
22. John McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney)
23. Seán O'Brien (Newport)
24. John O'Dwyer (Killenaule)
25. Mark Russell (Lattin-Cullen)
26. Paul Shanahan (Upperchurch-Drombane)
Tipperary beat Dublin in the 2016 league (1-23 to 0-12) and during the 2017 league campaign (1-24 to 1-8). The sides last met in July 2017 when Tipp presented Dublin with 6-26 to 1-19 All-Ireland qualifier defeat at Semple Stadium, Thurles. Dublin were struggling last season under manager Ger Cunningham (Cork), but Pat Gilroy (St Vincent's) has been installed in his place since then with Galway’s Anthony Cunningham appointed as team coach.
Dublin have played few, if any, championship games at Parnell Park in recent years, but in the league the venue is regarded as a real fortress. The last time Tipperary paid a visit to the venue in the championship was way back in 2007 when the Premier County won well (1-20 to 1-11), but more recent memories of a trip to Parnell Park are not nearly as warm. Indeed, during the 2015 league campaign Dublin presented Tipperary with a twelve-point defeat (2-20 to 0-14) at the venue - goals from Eamonn Dillon and Liam Rushe propelled Dublin to that impressive win.
Dublin were relegated last season and have struggled in division 1B in recent weeks. Dublin, reportedly, have been engaged in a robust strength and conditioning programme early this season and showed all the effects of it when losing to Offaly (1-15 to 2-25), Limerick (0-17 to 1-26) and Galway (1-14 to 1-20), but they did beat Antrim (0-23 to 0-22) and Laois (3-23 to 0-17).
Irrespective of such form Dublin can call on some terrific players like Conal Keaney, Niall McMorrow, Liam Rushe, Danny Sutcliffe, Eamonn Dillon, Paul Ryan, Ryan O’Dwyer (Cashel King Cormacs), Eoghan O'Donnell, Chris Crummey and Johnny McCaffrey. Watch out too for young forwards like Dónal Burke and Ronan Hayes who are eager to make their name.
Please note too that when the sides met in a senior hurling challenge match at Dr Morris Park, Thurles on January 6th the key take-away from that contest was the raw aggression of the Dublin players. Pat Gilroy’s men lost (0-12 to 1-26), but the Dubs refused to take a backward step.
All factors considered, however, this is a game that Tipperary will be expected to win despite the fact that Michael Ryan may well face into the quarter-final without experienced operators like Dan McCormack, Séamus Callanan, Joe O'Dwyer and Noel McGrath.
The three remaining 2018 Allianz National Hurling League quarter-finals will also take place on Sunday, March 18th - Offaly host Kilkenny at O'Connor Park in Tullamore (1pm), Galway make the trip to Innovate Wexford Park to take on Wexford at 2pm and at 4pm Limerick and Clare meet at the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick.
Páirc Esler in Newry will host the key Allianz Nationla Football League division two clash between Down and Tipperary on Sunday, March 18th (2pm). And, manager Liam Kearns has named the following team to face Down on their home patch:
1. Ciarán Kenrick (Moyle Rovers)
2. Alan Campbell (Moyle Rovers)
3. Paddy Codd (Killenaule)
4. John Meagher (Loughmore-Castleiney)
5. Bill Maher (Kilsheelan-Kilcash)
6. Robbie Kiely (Carbery Rangers, Cork, captain)
7. Jimmy Feehan (Killenaule)
8. Steven O'Brien (Ballina)
9. Liam Casey (Cahir)
10. Josh Keane (Golden-Kilfeacle)
11. Jason Lonergan (Clonmel Commercials)
12. Brian Fox (Éire Óg Annacarty-Donohill)
13. Conor Sweeney (Ballyporeen)
14. Michael Quinlivan (Clonmel Commercials)
15. Liam McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney)
16. Evan Comerford (Kilsheelan-Kilcash)
17. Kevin Fahey (Clonmel Commercials)
18. George Hannigan (Shannon Rovers)
19. Liam Boland (Moyle Rovers)
20. Emmet Moloney (Drom & Inch)
21. Jack Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials)
22. Kevin O'Halloran (Portroe)
23. Ian Fahey (Clonmel Commercials)
24. Liam Treacy (Loughmore-Castleiney)
25. Colm O’Shaughnessy (Ardfinnan)
26. Stephen Murray (Burgess)
With their division two league status secured Liam Kearns' men now find themselves in the promotion picture with two rounds to play. It is extraordinary to note that the Premier County was operating in division four as recently as 2014, but, right now, Tipperary are joint-second in division two on seven points, two off leaders Cavan and three clear of Down in sixth place.
“They (Down) will be very hard to beat up there,” Liam Kearns said following Tipperary's 2-17 to 0-9 win over Louth last weekend. But, given the quality of this Premier County team, you would be foolish to write off Tipp's chances of battling their way into division one.
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