FAILING to win promotion to Division 1A was a "disaster", according to Limerick forward Declan Hannon. But the Adare starlet has warned Tipperary against underestimating the Treaty men when they clash in the Munster championship on May 27.
John Allen hasn't had a full panel to choose from this year as Hannon struggled with a groin injury throughout the league campaign, while the likes of Kevin Downes and Shane Dowling also missed various stages of the spring.
And Hannon thinks Limerick will be much more competitive in the championship.
"People are under-estimating us because we didn't get out of the division," said Hannon yesterday. "Limerick are always the underdog, we've no problem with that. Watching Tipp yesterday, they wouldn't put too many butterflies in your stomach. But they are Tipperary at the end of the day and when it comes to championship, they know how to win."
Limerick recorded a challenge match win over Ollie Baker's Offaly on Sunday and take on Dublin this weekend in what is likely to be their last challenge match before the trip to Thurles. Hannon is in a race against time to be fit for the clash.
"If I went training properly and turned and sprinted you could tear the whole muscle off the bone, so you are better off waiting until it settles. It has been six weeks, and the diagnosis is between eight and 10 weeks so you'd be a bit confident you could get back for the Tipp game but you have to play it by ear."
Limerick hurling is on the up after gaining promotion to the top tier last year (before the league format was changed) and winning the Munster U-21 title.
An epic win over Cork handed Limerick their first title at the grade since 2002 when the county went on to win a third successive All-Ireland title. But the failure of those players to make the breakthrough at senior level means no one is getting carried away.
"We know how much we have to do to get up to the level of Tipperary and Kilkenny," said Hannon.
"There are four or five of us on the panel from the U-21s last year. We're doing okay but there are enough lads to keep your feet on the ground.
"There's no point in thinking you're God and that people have to watch out for you. I could go out the next day and play a stinker. You're only judged on your next game."
Limerick have also been given a boost by the return for former U21 hurler of the year, Seamus Hickey, from studying in America. He played the entire game against Offaly after missing the entire league campaign.
Another who played the full game was Kevin Downes who is returning from injury.