Sport Hurling

Friday 27 April 2018

Munster Senior Hurling Championship: county by county

Tipperary's Brendan Maher
Tipperary's Brendan Maher
Cork sharpshooter Pat Horgan
Waterford forward Maurice Shanahan

A look at the five teams fighting for the Munster title.

CLARE

All-Ireland titles: 4 (2013).

Munster titles: 6 (1998).

Manager: Davy Fitzgerald (3rd season).

Captain: Pat Donnellan.

Last year: Clare 2-20, Waterford 1-15; Clare 0-15, Cork 0-23; Clare 1-32, Laois 0-15; Clare 3-24, Wexford 1-20 (after extra time); Clare 1-23, Galway 2-14; Clare 1-22, Limerick 0-18; Clare 0-25, Cork 3-16 (All-Ireland final); Clare 5-16, Cork 3-16 (replay).

2014 NHL: 1st Div 1A (W3, D1, L1). Beaten semi-finalists.

Last big championship achievement: Reigning All-Ireland champions.

Key man: Tony Kelly.

Who could make a name for himself? Jack Browne.

Prospects: Have to be right up there. Davy Fitz probably got more than he'd hoped for from the league and, if disappointed by the concession of 2-24 in their semi-final loss to Tipp, Clare were headed for warm-weather training three days later, a reflection maybe of where their real priorities lay. Would undoubtedly covet a senior Munster title, given they haven't won one in 16 years.

Paddy Power betting: Munster 5/4, All-Ireland 11/4.

First game: June 15 v Cork or Waterford, Semple Stadium or Gaelic Grounds.

CORK

All-Ireland titles: 30 (2005).

Munster titles: 51 (2006).

Manager: Jimmy Barry-Murphy (3rd season).

Captain: Pa Cronin.

Last year: Cork 0-23, Clare 0-15; Cork 0-15, Limerick 0-24 (Munster final); Cork 0-19, Kilkenny 0-14; Cork 1-24, Dublin 1-19; Cork 3-16, Clare 0-25 (All-Ireland final); Cork 3-16, Clare 5-16 (replay).

2014 NHL: 1st Div 1B (W4, D1, L0). Promoted. Beaten quarter-finalists.

Last big championship achievement: Reaching last year's All-Ireland final.

Key man: Pat Horgan (below).

Who could make a name for himself? Alan Cadogan.

Prospects: Considering how close they came to claiming the Liam MacCarthy Cup last summer, it's hard to fathom the apparent lack of faith they engender within their own county. Just a puck of a ball away from Tipp in the league quarter-final too, the hunch is that Cork could have another decent run this summer.

Paddy Power betting: Munster 9/2, All-Ireland 15/2.

LIMERICK

First game: May 25 v Waterford, Semple Stadium.

All-Ireland titles: 7 (1973).

Munster titles: 19 (2013).

Manager: TJ Ryan (1st season).

Captain: Donal O'Grady.

Last year: Limerick 1-18, Tipperary 1-15; Limerick 0-24, Cork 0-15 (Munster final); Limerick 0-18, Clare 1-22.

2014 NHL: 2nd Div 1B (W3, D2, L0). Beaten quarter-finalists.

Last big Cchampionship achievement: Reigning Munster champions.

Key man: Declan Hannon.

Who could make a name for himself? David Reidy.

Prospects: What is it about Limerick's capacity for dysfunction? The resignation of Donal O'Grady as joint manager within hours of watching next month's opponents Tipp roll into another league final made for shocking optics for the reigning Munster champions. They face a daunting challenge now to reclaim the momentum that made them one of the stories of last summer.

Paddy Power betting: Munster 11/2, All-Ireland 11/1.

First game: June 1 v Tipperary, Semple Stadium.

TIPPERARY

All-Ireland titles: 26 (2010).

Munster titles: 42 (2012).

Manager: Eamon O'Shea (2nd season).

Captain: Brendan Maher (left).

Last year: Tipperary 1-15, Limerick 1-18; Tipperary 1-14, Kilkenny 0-20.

2014 NHL: 4th Div 1A (W2, D0, L3). League finalists.

Last big championship achievement: Munster champions 2012.

Key man: Seamus Callanan.

Who could make a name for himself? James Barry.

Prospects: After apparently sleep-walking through the first two months of the season, Tipp finally found momentum and will be home favourites on June 1 to avenge last year's Munster semi-final defeat to Limerick. Beyond that? Eamon O'Shea still has the air of a man sitting at a table full of loose jigsaw pieces. How he assembles those pieces will make for compelling viewing.

Paddy Power betting: Munster 9/4, All-Ireland 11/2.

First game: June 1 v Limerick, Semple Stadium.

WATERFORD

All-Ireland titles: 2 (1959).

Munster titles: 9 (2010).

Manager: Derek McGrath (1st season).

Captain: Michael 'Brick' Walsh.

Last year: Waterford 1-15, Clare 2-20; Waterford 0-21, Offaly 1-14; Waterford 3-22, Westmeath 0-14; Waterford 2-16, Kilkenny 1-22 (after extra-time).

2014 NHL: 6th Div 1A (W2, D0, L3). Lost relegation play-off to Dublin.

Last big championship achievement: Munster champions 2010.

Key man: Maurice Shanahan (below).

Who could make a name for himself? Stephen O'Keeffe.

Prospects: Relegation in the league will have stung after a promising opening under Derek McGrath's management and the strict rationing of formal county training since doesn't exactly augur well for a strong championship campaign. Waterford still have the hurling in them to trouble any opposition, but there is the sense that others may be more advanced in their development.

Paddy Power betting: Munster 16/1, All-Ireland 25/1.

First game: May 25 v Cork, Semple Stadium.

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