Minor hurlers ready for Munster championship
After last year's bitter disappointment when Tipperary won just one of their four round robin games, Tipperary manager Paul Collins has to steer his team back to the winners table and will commence the run against Kerry when they sides meet at The Gaelic Grounds next Sunday.
This will be the first meeting between the teams since 2012 when Tipp won 6-21 to 0-11 at Semple Stadium. Perhaps its an omen because Tipp went on to win the All-Ireland final when defeating Dublin later that year.
Kerry don’t take part in this competition very often but are back after a six year lapse. Sunday’s game will be the eleventh meeting between the teams with Tipp winning the previous ten.
“Kerry have played a number of challenge games in the last few weeks. They are a big strong physical team and are coming with a good challenge against us. They have nothing to lose,” said Collins who is in his third year at the helm and has held on to the same management of 2019 which includes Shane McGrath, Ballinahinch; Coach/Selector plus Tony Shelly, Killenaule and Ger Ryan Cappawhite as selectors while there is a new addition with Clonakenny’s Willie Ryan coming in as Strength and Conditioning coach. Apart from Willie Ryan the other four have been at the helm since 2018 with Tommy Dunne the manager that year.
Experience aside, Paul Collins says he is not concentrating on Kerry; rather, he wants his own team to worry about their own performance while he is conscious of the fact that his team has had their preparations interrupted by the Covid 19 restrictions.
“To be honest, with a six month break, we have put a massive focus in putting our own performance right. It was May 12th when we were supposed to play, but it comes six months later and we are happy to get the chance next Sunday,” said Paul.
Apart from the interruption posed by Covid, the preparation for 2020 has been a lot different in that the management have used the recent minor club championship to their advantage.
“We had a very good club championship in both Minor A and Minor B. A lot of the players in the panel were involved in the latter stages of the club. We had a panel picked before the Covid but some guys showed well in the club scene and came on to the panel which was a benefit to us.
“It was nice to see the clubs having all their players available to them and nice to see the club championship played in such very good weather. I was at games in all divisions and there were some fantastic matches.” Ten players return from last year’s panel with Jamie Duncan (Knockavilla Kickhams), Stephen Ferncombe (Clonoulty Rossmore), Tony Cahill (Drom Inch) and Jack Leamy (Golden Kilfeacle) on the starting fifteen for the final group game defeat against Limerick in June 2019. Other players who had various bouts of experience from last year campaign are also retained such as Luke Shanahan (Upperchurch), Cathal Deely (Saint Marys), Ciaran McCormack (Loughmore Castleiney), Darragh Shanahan (Durles Óg) and two Silvermines players Conor McKelvey and Michael Corcoran. Corcoran started at centre back in the first three games and this year he will captain the team.
Paul Collins is keen to leave the disappointment of last year well behind him and says he has learned a lot over the three years while adding that being involved with the new minor age has been testing.
MINOR HURLING PANEL FOR KERRY GAME
1. Jason O'Dwyer - Clonoulty-Rossmore
2. Danny Slattery - Clonoulty-Rossmore
3. Callum Lawrence - Cashel King Cormacs
4. D.J. McGrath - Kiladangan
5. Cathal Quinn - Cashel King Cormacs
6. Michael Corcoran (Capt) - Silvermines
7. Luke Shanahan - Upperchurch-Drombane
8. Darragh Stakelum - Thurles Sarsfields
9. Peter McGarry - St. Mary's
10. Stephen Ferncombe - Clonoulty-Rossmore
11. Ciaran McCormack - Loughmore-Castleiney
12. Jack Leamy - Golden-Kilfeacle
13. Sean Kenneally - Moneygall
14. Tony Cahill - Drom-Inch
15. David Fogarty - Holycross-Ballycahill
16. Dylan O' Grady - Knockavilla-Donaskeigh Kickhams
17. Colm Boyle - Borris-Ileigh
18. Robert Doyle - Clonoulty-Rossmore
19. Kenny Lee - Roscrea
20. Diarmuid Looby - Lattin-Cullen
21. Conor McKelvey - Silvermines
22. Darragh Minogue - Durlas Óg
23. Eddie Ryan - Borris-Ileigh
24. Pat Ryan - Upperchurch-Drombane