Cork collide with Limerick in tasty Munster SHC opener

Holders Limerick open the defence of both their All-Ireland and Munster Senior Hurling Championship titles when they run up against Cork in a tasty and tricky provincial semi-final at Semple Stadium, Thurles, on Saturday next (Sky Sports, throw-in, 7pm).
The much-anticipated meeting of these great rivals is being used as a pilot event with regards a return of fuller crowds at sporting fixtures, and as such will be played in front of just 2,400 lucky spectators. There will be no public or club ticket sales.
Limerick manager John Kiely, who has a record current nine All-Stars at his disposal, will announce his team on Thursday night.
A certain starter is Hurler of the Year 2020 Gearóid Hegarty, who reckons this crop of players – many of whom have won two All-Ireland medals in just three years – has yet to peak, and is convinced they are still very much on an upward trajectory.
“I think so, without a doubt,” stated Hegarty (26). “It’s nearly like a race. If you’re just trying to maintain your position, you’ll be passed out. You’ve got to keep improving and stretching away.
“I do absolutely believe we have still a good bit of room for improvement. You look at our league performances, they’ve been a small bit inconsistent. We’ve had two losses and a couple of inconsistent performances here and there. So, we do absolutely have massive room for improvement.”
Although Cork proved only a tissue-like challenge to Limerick in their recent league tussle, a much closer contest is guaranteed in a few days’ time.
This weekend’s other semi-final involves Tipperary and Clare at the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday, while the Munster Final is listed for July 18th.
On this Friday evening, Munster winners Limerick and defending champions Galway meet in the 2020 delayed All-Ireland Minor Hurling semi-final at Cusack Park, Ennis (live TG4, 7.30pm). With no Ulster representation, the Leinster Final between Kilkenny and Offaly doubles-up as the other All-Ireland semi-final later in the weekend.
The minor decider is listed for Saturday/Sunday week.
Extra-time will be played, if necessary, in all championship matches to determine a winner once more this summer.
In camogie, Pat Ryan’s Limerick run up against Cork in the Munster Senior Final at the weekend.