TIPPERARY senior hurling team manager Eamon O'Shea has lined up glamour challenge ties against Offaly and Dublin over the next two Sundays as he runs the rule over his 2013 prospects.
Tipperary are due to play Offaly at Templemore on Sunday, before going head-to-head with Anthony Daly's Dublin at MacDonagh Park, Nenagh, on January 20. Tipp then open their Waterford Crystal Cup campaign on January 27, on Premier county soil against Limerick or Mary Immaculate College.
O'Shea was pleased with the efforts of his players in last Sunday's 3-23 to 2-15 victory against University College Cork in a challenge outing, which marked the Kilruane MacDonagh man's first game at the helm.
There were notable contributions from the returning Seamus Hennessy, debutant Tomas Hamill at wing-back and a new midfield pairing of Johnny Ryan and Adrian Ryan.
O'Shea was particularly pleased for his clubmate Hennessy (23), who has missed the last two seasons of inter-county championship hurling with a serious knee injury. Hennessy won All-Ireland senior and U-21 medals in 2010 and slotted in at centre-back against the students.
LIMERICK senior hurling manager John Allen has admitted he would like the opportunity to pick his own team captain – and his wish could be granted by county board chiefs.
County secretary Mike O'Riordan has revealed that the issue will be discussed on January 29. The matter may even be aired this evening at the first management committee meeting of the year. O'Riordan said if a proposed motion is passed, it will apply to all county teams in both codes.
There has been some speculation that Kilmallock, county SH champions in 2012, were set to nominate forward Graeme Mulcahy as county team skipper.
But club official Donal Barry stated no player has been officially nominated for the role as it is Kilmallock's understanding that a rule change may come into effect.
Allen insisted: "It makes more sense (for the manager to choose). I think a lot of the time what has happened is that you have a club that wins the championship and might not have a player on the first 15. I have already expressed my opinion that the management should pick the captain."
WATERFORD senior hurling boss Michael Ryan has suffered another big blow with the news that midfielder Philip Mahony will be unavailable for the 2013 campaign.
Mahony (21) is in Thailand and has confirmed that he will be travelling for the year. The news follows hot on the heels of Stephen Molumphy's defection due to army duty.
Ryan is now without his two first-choice midfielders from last season. The Waterford boss also revealed that defender Aidan Kearney (28) may also miss the season with a shoulder injury.
Ryan will be in the mood to experiment next Sunday when the Deise play UCC in a challenge game, ahead of the Waterford Crystal Cup opener with UL on the following Sunday, January 20.
Meanwhile, Gareth Sinnott has been named as WEXFORD senior hurling captain for 2013. The Oulart-The-Ballagh attacker, who will be setting out on his third championship campaign with the county, follows in the footsteps of his clubmate Keith Rossiter.