While Cork and Tipperary will begin the pursuit of the Munster senior hurling title in earnest tomorrow, Waterford will be stepping up their search for a new manager following Justin McCarthy's resignation.
McCarthy took the decision to step down because he felt he no longer enjoyed the full support of the players.
"I regret that my decision to step down has come in the middle of the championship season. However, I feel it is the best course of action for everybody involved," said McCarthy in a statement.
His abdication, coming in the wake of Waterford's eclipse by Clare last weekend, has all but overshadowed tomorrow's showdown between a Tipperary side whose rich form in reaching the National League final and a team still desperately keen to knock Kilkenny off their proud All Ireland perch. Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy has made one change from the side that won the league final at the expense of Galway.
Seamus Callinan makes his Championship debut at centre-forward in place of Benny Dunne as James Woodlock moves to midfield. Conor O'Brien is Tipperary's other Championship debutant at left corner-back. Cork still rely heavily on their old brigade — players like John Gardiner, Diarmuid O'Sullivan, Jerry and Ben O'Connor, Sean Og O hAilpin and goalkeeper Donal Og Cusack — and since they have not lost to Tipperary on their home patch since 1922, they have an enviable record to maintain. But that won't stop the Tipperary fans travelling in big numbers to see what they hope will prove a defining performance from their side.
"I think we proved ourselves in the National League but now we must do it again," says manager Sheedy.