Tipperary U-21 Manager Liam Cahill has named his team for Thursday evening.
The Premier lads take on Limerick in Semple Stadium at 7:30pm and all support is requested for the blue and gold.
Tipperary u-21 hurling Manager Liam Cahill is gearing up for the provincial championship opener against Limerick in Semple Stadium on Thursday evening knowing that a top drawer performance will be required if anything is to be claimed off the high flying Shannonsiders.
The Ballingarry man has overseen a number of challenge games over the last few weeks and while he admitted that the results were not in Tipperary's favour, he is adament that the team has learned a lot from the clashes against Kilkenny, Waterford, Galway and Wexford.
“We have been learning all the time and we will have no excuses.
Limerick hurling is absolutely flying at the moment. They have beaten us at minor and senior, so they will come with all guns blazing. There is a real bounce about Limerick and we are under no illusions about the task that faces us and we just have to be ready to go to wherever we have to go to get the result,” Liam told The Tipperary Star.
With the senior hurlers out of the championship, the u-21 campaign takes on added significance and Liam has been emphasising to the players, the need to give Tipp supporters something to cheer about.
“We will be doing all in our power to give the supporters the kind of performance they want. If we do that the result will follow. Definitely it is important that we put a bit of enthusiasm back into Tipperary hurling after the last few weeks.
“The reality is that these guys are stepping up to u-21 and they are on the final furlong to seeing if they are able to step up to senior or not. I have had them at minor too, and what better or bigger test for them now than against Limerick in Thurles. We need to have options as well for the senior team in time and that's what our whole process is about.
“We have been very thorough in our sourcing of players again and have looked at 50 players. This is the nucleus of the 2015 minor team, but unfortunately the majority of those players have not trained on and will not be with us on Thursday night. It's a frightening stat – there might be be only 5/6 of the 35 players who travelled on the bus to Croke Park for the All-Ireland minor final in 2015, coming through to be available on Thursday night,” he says.
The reasons for this are numerous – some are playing other sports now, and others have just not found the step up in class or work ethic to play full blown inter county hurling.
If Tipperary can come through on Thursday evening, the whole season opens up. They will be in the All-Ireland semi-final, as well as the Munster Final and the incentive to succeed is huge.
“We know that the carrot is massive for Thursday. Win that, Munster Final and in the last four for an All-Ireland, and only one game away from an All-Ireland Final. But, Limerick have talent all over the field. They have a lot of big rangy, physical men who are able to win their own ball which is any managers dream. Pat Donnelly (Limerick Manager) has been there before, won the All-Ireland Final last year and has 8/9 of that panel available again. He is a good operator,” Liam says.
However, from a Tipp perspective, a clean bill of health has been declared and the call to arms for supporters to get to Semple Stadium and cheer on the team, is well and truly out there.