Tipperary and Clare could shine early in 'Crystal'
BEATEN All-Ireland hurling finalists Tipperary could face a very early season meeting with Clare in the Waterford Crystal tournament.
Tipp face Waterford IT in the first round and the winners have to travel to Clare. Munster champions Cork also have an early start against UL on January 11 while Limerick's season opener will be at home against either Waterford or Limerick IT.
Munster's pre-season football equivalent, the McGrath Cup, was hit by a boycott last year when all of the so-called weaker counties all pulled out in protest at the seeding of the province's senior football championship which has since been adjusted.
All counties except Clare have opted to play in it this year. All-Ireland champions Kerry are down to open their season with a home game against IT Tralee on January 11 but are expected to use the competition to blood new players.
2015 Waterford Crystal Fixtures
Prelim (Jan 11) - Cork v UL (A); Waterford v LIT (B); Tipperary v WIT (C).
Quarter-finals (Jan 18) - Clare v winner of C (D); Cork IT v A (E); Limerick v B (F); Kerry v UCC (G).
Semi-finals (Jan 25) - D v E; Fv G. Final - February 1.
2015 McGrath Cup Fixtures
Prelim Rd (Jan 4) - Waterford v UL (A); Cork v Mary I (B).
Q/finals (Jan 11) - Kerry v IT Tralee (C); Limerick v UCC (D); Tipperary v B (E); Cork IT v A (F).
Semis (Jan 18) C v D; E v F.
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