Tipperary’s class to prove too much for Clare
Allianz Football League preview: Division Four final
The likes of Michael Quinlivan should provide the class that Tipperary need to take title. Photograph: Inpho
TIPPERARY v CLARE
Saturday, Croke Park, 5pm (Live on TG4)
Tipp v Clare in Croke Park. It might not draw much of a crowd but the novelty factor alone makes it worth a look. For all their relentless sniping at each other in hurling, the two counties cross swords in football far less regularly than you’d imagine. They haven’t met in the championship since 2002, and last year was their first time meeting in the league since 2008. By next year, they’ll be sick of the sight of each other as they’ll be in the same division for the third year in a row.
Tipperary should win. Though the Clare side is backboned by a very strong Cratloe side that had the wherewithal to put together a decent run in the frenzy of the county’s post-All Ireland winter, Seán Collins has lost the services of his sons Podge and Seán, as they are in Portugal with the county hurlers.
Even with them, Clare would be a step below a Tipp side filled with successful former under-age players. Conor Sweeney and Barry Grogan have torn up defences all through the league, with Ian Fahey and Michael Quinlivan possessing class that deserves more than Division Four.
CLARE: P DeLoughrey; D Ryan, K Hartnett, M McMahon; S Hickey, G Kelly, E Coughlan; G Brennan, C O’Connor; S McGrath, J Malone, C Russell; M O’Leary, S Brennan, D Tubridy.
TIPPERARY: P Fitzgerald; J Coghlan, P Codd, A Morrissey; R Kiely, P Acheson, D Leahy; S O’Brien, G Hannigan; P Austin, I Fahey, B Fox; C Sweeney, M Quinlivan, B Grogan.
Referee: Noel Mooney (Cavan)