Limerick to use 'lack of respect' in bid to topple Tipp
Limerick will be harnessing a perceived lack of respect as a major motivating force against Tipperary in tomorrow's Munster hurling semi-final at Semple Stadium (4.00pm).
Irritation over what they regard as a failure to treat them with respect due to their defending champions status has been a common theme in comments emerging from Limerick.
"If you were to read papers or listen to the radio, we're back down and rated seventh or eighth in Ireland," said midfielder Paul Browne. "People just want us to slip back into the shadows now."
Manager TJ Ryan chipped in too, commenting that "in recent weeks, the fact that Limerick are Munster champions might have been forgotten."
Limerick's disappointing run in the league, combined with Tipperary's surge in the second half of the competition, has left Eamon O'Shea's squad warm favourites to book a place in the Munster final.
O'Shea has maintained a cautious line, but is happy with the way the season has progressed after an early slump, during which they lost to Kilkenny, Clare and Galway.
"I believe we have improved since last year," he said.
Leinster hosts two of its three hurling quarter-finals in Portlaoise tomorrow when Antrim play Wexford (2.0) before Laois face Galway (4.0).
Antrim and Laois are unhappy over being forced to play such important games a week after completing a four-match round-robin series in the last month.
Improving Laois troubled Galway for most of last year's Leinster semi-final before losing by seven points, while Wexford beat Antrim by 10 points in last season's All-Ireland qualifiers.
A semi-final clash with Cork will be the prize for the winners of this evening's Limerick v Tipperary Munster SFC clash in the Gaelic Grounds (7.0). Tipperary are slight favourites, despite not having won a Munster championship game since 2003.
Fermanagh and Antrim begin their Ulster SFC campaign in Brewster Park tomorrow (3.30), with Donegal awaiting the winners in the semi-finals.