Munster Football Championship - County-by-County Guide Tue 12 May 2015 CLARE Manager: Colm Collins (2nd season). Titles: Munster 2 (1992), All-Ireland 0. 2015 championship: Beat Limerick 0-15 to 0-13 in the Munster quarter-final before losing out to Cork in the semi-finals, 1-20 to 1-8. Qualifier defeat to Longford followed (1-12 to 2-12). How it unfolded A mixed season ended up with Division Three status preserved but after a mid-season wobble. They benefited from a trickle of refugees from the hurling squad and also from the capital, with former Dublin panellists Shane McGrath and, this season, Kilmacud club All-Ireland winner Pat Burke. A bright start to the campaign saw Colm Collins’ side overcome Limerick by two points in the Munster quarter-finals, with substitute Cathal McInerney proving to be the hero as he kicked two late points to seal the win. But the loss of Podge Collins, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in a club hurling game at the end of May, didn’t help what was always going to be a tall order against Cork and the Rebels duly proved far too strong at Páirc Uí Rinn. The Longford defeat was typical of their inconsistency in 2015. CORK Manager: Brian Cuthbert (2nd year). Titles: Munster 37 (2012), All-Ireland 7 (2010). 2015 championship: Beat Clare 1-20 to 1-8 in the Munster semi-finals. Drew Munster final 2-15 to 3-12 against Kerry but lost the replay by five. Then lost 1-13 to 1-21 v Kildare in the qualifiers. How it unfolded Hit the ground running in a comfortable win over Clare and impressed in many facets, ranging from the variation in goalkeeper Ken O’Halloran’s restarts to the new midfield partnership of the returning Alan O’Connor and Kevin O’Driscoll, to talented forwards who looked the part. The one Cork negative was the number of goal-scoring opportunities created by Clare and they were similarly exposed by Kerry who hit three against them to earn a draw in the final. They missed their chance to down the old enemy in that drawn game, when they were the better side, and they clearly did not recover in time for the test Kildare presented. Alan O'Connor injury really cost them. KERRY Manager: Eamonn Fitzmaurice (3rd year). Titles: Munster 74 (holders), All-Ireland 37 (holders). 2015 championship: Beat Tipperary 2-14 to 2-8 at Semple Stadium before drawing Munster final with Cork. Won the replay 1-11 to 1-6. Then a 7-16 to 0-10 quarter final win over Kildare and a 0-18 to 1-11 win over Tyrone. Lost the September decider 0-9 to 0-12 v Dublin. How it unfolded A stuttering start to the campaign as Tipperary made life difficult for Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s side – in the first half at least – but the Kerry manager oversaw a return to fitness, and glimpses of top form from Colm Cooper in their constantly improving performances from then on. They got in, and got out - without being too impressive. Midfield was proving a major platform but their somewhat leaky looking full-back line was a worry, and Fitzmaurice struggled to nail down his best XV. They were stiff against Cork in the drawn final, very lucky to come away with a second chance. They avoided Dublin, Mayo and Donegal to return to the All-Ireland final, but Tyrone weren't there to make up the numbers. Still, though Kerry did enough - although after four weeks in limbo they failed to turn up in the rain as Dublin proved the better team in the final. And so the double-double dream died, and all of a sudden everything is in question, management decisions, retirements - what a difference a game makes. LIMERICK Manager: John Brudair (2nd year). Titles: Munster 1 (1896), All-Irelands 2 (1887 and 1896). 2015 championship: Lost Munster quarter-final to Cork 0-15 to 0-13. Lost subsequent qualifier to Tyrone 0-8 to 1-14. How it unfolded John Brudair did well to keep Limerick afloat in Division Three after all the withdrawals this season. Further unwelcome news deprived the team of Paudie Browne. Gearóid Hegarty, son of former hurler Ger, made a big impression at centrefield with his elusive running as Ian Ryan continued to be the team’s dominant personality up front. Gave Clare a surprisingly big beating in the league but were second best in Ennis. Did well against Tyrone, without ever really worrying their illustrious opponents too much. TIPPERARY Manager: Peter Creedon (3rd year). Titles: Munster 9 (1935), All-Ireland 4 (1920). 2015 championship: Beat Waterford in Munster quarter-final 1-24 to 0-5. Lost semi-final to Kerry 2-8 to 2-14 before qualifier exit against Tyrone (0-19 to 0-7). How it unfolded The league challenge was hampered by having to travel to the main promotion rivals Armagh and Fermanagh but they consolidated well in Division Three and the Under-21 success did boost pre-season morale. Waterford proved no test, while Kerry were a step too far. A significant scalp still was the target but they completely collapsed in the second half against Tyrone. Injuries didn't help, nor did Colin O'Riordan playing Under-21 hurling three days before that game. Peter Creedon has had enough anyway, so they'll be building from scratch in 2016. WATERFORD Manager: Tom McGlinchey (1st year). Titles: Munster 1 (1898), All-Ireland 0 2015 championship: Lost Munster quarter-final to Tipperary, 1-24 to 0-5 in Thurles. Then lost qualifier Round 1A to Offaly (1-7 to 1-20). How it unfolded Tipperary defeat was of little surprise, but the manner of such couldn't be any more disappointing. Jointly clamped to the basement floor is a wearyingly familiar situation for Waterford but this year’s narrative had been a bit more uplifting than that. It started with a rare McGrath Cup victory and a first win over Cork since the 1950s. Shane Aherne left abruptly but Liam Ó Lionáin came out of retirement and Liam Lawlor switched from the hurlers. League performances had been competitive if unavailing, and the Offaly qualifier defeat was much of the same.