Former Tipperary hurler Shane McGrath believes that Limerick have the edge over his old side this weekend as the two teams met at the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday night.
Both teams come into the game on the back of victories in the opening weekend of the Allianz Hurling League with Limerick claiming an impressive win away to Wexford and Tipp edging out Clare.
The Premier have been buoyed by the return of manager Liam Sheedy but are facing the All-Ireland champions and while McGrath is looking forward to the encounter, he expects a hugely testing day at the office for his county.
"Hopefully last week will have helped the boys but I think it’s a big ask for them, not to be playing the cute Tipp thing or anything," he told RTÉ Sport.
McGrath believes that Limerick’s ability to field the spine of their All-Ireland-winning side as well as introducing new players who have a real desire and hunger to impress, marks them out as a formidable outfit in the league.
He explained: "John Kiely has made it very clear that he wants to blood new players for the league but he started 11 on the All-Ireland final team last week and he’s starting eleven of them again this week, albeit there’s a few changes.
"It’s strange in a way, I thought Peter Casey was excellent against Wexford scoring three points from play but what can you say? There’s a guy from Kilmallock in the form of Graeme Mulcahy, some people’s hurler of the year last year, coming in to replace him.
"Kevin Downes is coming in at full-forward and he was absolutely flying it before the All-Ireland final last year, probably would have been on the team only he didn’t get enough time and Conor Boylan from Na Piarsaigh making his debut.
"I just think Limerick, while they’re trying new players, John Kiely is still always playing 11 or 12 of his team to get these guys consistently playing with each other and getting used to playing with each other."
McGrath feels that’s it’s a game that will give Sheedy an indication of just where his side are at the moment, but admitted that he expects to see the Treaty to edge it.
"It’s a big test for some of the Tipp boys. I’m really looking forward to seeing Jake Morris and how he’s going to fare out against Richie English there at corner-back. He’s a serious corner-back and Jake is coming into the fray after a good Under-21 campaign. He’s almost Lar Corbett-like, and that will be a really good test for him.
"How Cathal Barrett is going to get on against Graeme Mulcahy, there’s going to be some very interesting key battles but I just think Limerick might just shade this. I think they’re really strong and Tipp have four or five guys to comes back and it might be too much too soon for them."
Follow all the weekend's hurling and football league action via our live blog on RTÉ.ie and the News Now App, listen to live commentaries of games on RTÉ Radio 1 Saturday Sport and Sunday Sport, and catch up with TV highlights of the weekend's action on Allianz League Sunday on RTÉ2 and the RTÉ Player on Sunday 9.30pm