Improving Wexford can do it again
Liam Dunne’s side have the momentum to get past Limerick while Tipperary should prove too strong for struggling Dublin
Throw in the historical footnote provided by the venue, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, and you had the perfect motivational recipe for Cork.
However Limerick came out of that Munster final with holes. Their two wing backs Gavin O’Mahony and Paudie O’Brien were replaced, the midfield was totally dominated by Aidan Walsh and Daniel Kearney and their forwards didn’t have any more impact than they did against Tipperary.
The improvement I expected to see from Limerick between the Tipperary and Cork matches didn’t materialise.
There are question marks about the depth in the Limerick panel. If you asked me six or eight weeks ago who would win between Limerick and Wexford then I would have had no hesitation in saying Limerick.
I am now inclined to side with Wexford on the proviso that Rossiter and McGovern are fully fit. They are an improving package and there is scope for further progress.
Systems failureDublin are coming off a disastrous Leinster final but the nature of teams trained by Anthony Daly guarantees there will be a kickback.
The Dubs suffered injuries to key players going into that final. The key to Dublin is their athleticism and their best athletes were all replaced on the day. Their set-up and tactics were totally off; they suffered a systems failure. They don’t have depth to their squad; ironically that shortfall can be found in the Dublin footballers’ panel.
If Danny Sutcliffe, Conal Keaney and Ryan O’Dwyer haven’t recovered from those injuries it will be a fatal blow. Their best hope is to use their phenomenal athleticism, win ball and run at Tipperary. There was a negativity to the way Dublin set up against Kilkenny but that outlook will need to change.
Tipp are back on track, albeit that they have enjoyed victories over pretty questionable opposition in Galway and Offaly. Dublin will pose a greater threat. The biggest problem Tipperary face is winning enough ball in their forward line.
If Tipperary win enough ball with the skill levels of Lar Corbett, Séamus Callanan, Noel McGrath and John O’Dwyer, they will score and cause problems for anyone. However the issue for them is ball winning.
Pádraig and Brendan Maher man the number three and six positions but both have struggled in those positions at various times earlier in the season. Tipperary’s chance of winning will improve considerably if the two Mahers dominate that central corridor.
The Dublin defence is still athletic. Peter Kelly is an ideal defender for Séamus Callanan because he is big, strong and fast. The Dublin defence will pose a different set of questions to anything the Tipperary forwards have experienced so far in the qualifiers.
For Dublin there is a huge gap to bridge from their performance in the Leinster final to the one that’s going to be required to beat Tipperary; particularly in the latter’s backyard.
The gap looks too big for me, especially in the three-week window.