Munster Hurling Championship - County-by-County Guide Tue 12 May 2015 CLARE Manager: Davy Fitzgerald (3nd season). Titles: Munster 6 (1998), All-Ireland 4 (2013). 2015 championship: Beaten 1-19 to 2-15 by Limerick in Munster quarter-final. Recovered to beat Offaly 3-26 to 0-15 in qualifiers but knocked out by Cork on a scoreline of 0-17 to 0-20. How it unfolded With the smoke cleared from all the spring’s shemozzling, Clare emerged in a better state than most imagined. The Davy O’Halloran row was a macro issue, more a philosophical bust-up than a hurling one. The bald truth is that of all the players who’d left the Clare panel, Podge Collins was by far the biggest loss. Without him, the Clare attack lacked an X-factor – that edge prove critical in the Limerick defeat, and even with the return of Colm Galvin they didn't have enough against Cork. CORK Manager: Jimmy Barry-Murphy (4th season). Titles: Munster 51 (Holders), All-Ireland 30 (2005). 2015 Championship: Lost 1-21 to 3-19 against Waterford in Munster semi-final. Beat Wexford in qualifiers 2-22 to 0-20 and then Clare 0-20 to 0-17. Lost to Galway 0-22 to 2-28 in the last eight. How it unfolded Recovered from a witless opening to the league to look more and more cohesive with every game, right up until running into Waterford in the final. And the Déise were on top again in the Munster semi-final as Cork’s defence of the Munster title ended at the first hurdle. Recovered well against Wexford and then edged Clare, but the wrong Cork turned up against Galway. LIMERICK Manager: TJ Ryan (2nd season). Titles: Munster 19 (2013), All-Ireland 7 (1973). 2015 championship: One-point Munster quarter final win over Clare. Lost to Tipperary 4-23 to 1-16. Qualifier win over Westmeath followed but lost to Dublin 1-16 to 1-17. How it unfolded Well beaten by Tipperary and edged by Dublin makes for a sorry campaign. All the intangibles were present and correct – canny manager, right age-profile, right level of experience, deep wells of hurt. But they failed to brush off the same lingering questions; Why haven’t they got it together enough by now to get out of Division 1B? Why can’t they amount to more than heroic one-off performances? Showed touches of their potential in ending Clare's provincial dream but that was their lot. TIPPERARY Manager: Eamon O’Shea (3rd season). Titles: Munster 41 (2015), All-Ireland 26 (2010). 2015 championship: Won Munster semi-final against Limerick 4-23 to 1-16 and then the final 0-21 to 0-16 against Waterford. Lost 3-16 to 0-26 v Galway in All-Ireland semi-final. How it unfolded In Eamon O’Shea’s final season, they had most – and maybe all – of the ingredients at their disposal to go one better than last year. They have talent that most teams envy but the missing link, as always, is the gumption to put it together when the wind isn’t blowing their way. Again it happened to be Tipperary on the wrong end of a classic against Galway in the semi-final. Showed form and appetite against Limerick and Waterford to secure some deserved silverware at last, but they were left entirely reliant on the outstanding Seamus Callanan against Galway in an otherwise no-show. Sad way to end O'Shea's tenure. WATERFORD Manager: Derek McGrath (2nd year). Titles: Munster 8 (2010), All-Ireland 2 (1959). 2015 championship: Beat Cork 3-19 to 1-21 but then lost the Munster final to Tipperary (0-16 to 0-21). Quarter-final 2-21 to 1-19 win over Dublin. Lost the semi-final v Kilkenny, 0-18 to 1-21. How it unfolded The one county whose graph is indisputably rising, as evidenced in a stirring league campaign, and one that showed no sign of tailing off after their powerful show against Cork in the Munster semi-finals. Unbeaten this year and with the wind firmly on their backs going into the Munster final Tipperary pulled the rug from under them. But they recovered, and in style. Kilkenny provide the ultimate test and they showed they are not all that far away. A positive year, no doubt about it.