Tipperary expected to raise game sufficiently

Sat, Sep 29, 2012, 01:00

THE CREEPING impression since the draw on September 9th is Dublin had their chance and didn’t take it; that Tipperary’s attack will spark to life at various stages tomorrow and that will be that.

But why Tipperary were so unproductive from play the last day must be examined. One statistic jumps off the page, and reveals just how important John McGrath is to their cause. The Loughmore Castleiney prodigy registered 1-11 (nine frees, two 65s and a penalty) which is a point more than his entire total from placed balls in four previous championship games.

It also took Tipp 33 minutes to score from play. Seán Maher got his second point late on and Mark McCarthy spun off his marker to net a brilliant goal early in the second half, but that’s it. McGrath took care of the rest.

He will probably deliver again, from wing forward rather than midfield, but it is unlikely manager William Maher will be hauling off Jack Shelly and Tadhg Gallagher with empty brackets beside their names. Both players have been moved to the full forward line with Stephen Cahill now at midfield. There is one change in personnel as Dylan Fitzell comes in at centre forward for Stephen O’Brien.

It will be interesting to see whether Maher uses 16-year-old Colin O’Riordan, having called up the dual player in recent weeks.

Dublin’s backs deserve credit for holding the dam. Cian O’Callaghan was brilliant at fullback but Shane Barrett and Eric Lowndes produced equally heroic man-marking jobs, with the latter coming off a sensational showing in last Sunday’s football decider.

“Dublin just did not let us play – it’s as simple as that,” Maher told the Tipperary Star. “They started the stronger and they dictated the terms of the game. In saying that, we didn’t perform, nothing seemed to go our way, and yet we didn’t lose – so that’s a very good sign.”

It should also be noted Dublin gave up a mountain of frees, hence the McGrath total, which annoyed manager Shay Boland.

“Either we play a different brand of hurling up here than they do down in Munster or we’re just being penalised for indiscretions that we’re not disciplined enough in. So I don’t know what it is.”

Galway’s Alan Kelly has replaced Cork’s Colm Lyons as referee so a different interpretation is expected. Boland has made several positional changes, with Lowndes and Barrett swapping corners, while down the other end, Oisín O’Rorke and Paul Winters move around.

Donal Gormley is retained at wing forward, having been a late replacement for Seán Treacy, with Cian Boland moved out to centre forward and Caolán Conway shifting to the inside line. Boland and Conor McHugh contributed in the draw with 0-2 each during Dublin’s first-half blitz, while Cormac Costello registered a hugely impressive 1-3 .

Costello and Lowndes are starting an astonishing fifth minor All-Ireland final tomorrow. Both shipped heavy knocks in the football defeat of Meath six days ago but both have been passed fit.

But for all the belts that pair took, 20 Tipperary minors were involved in club championship action last weekend. No injuries were reported so it probably won’t matter as Tipperary will endeavour to bring more intensity to the opening exchanges.

“It’s a completely new game,” said Maher. “Replays are usually very different to the drawn game so hopefully we’ll get a good performance. We’ll have to increase our performance significantly to turn Dublin over.”

They are expected to do just that.

DUBLIN: C MacGabhann (Kilmacud Crokes); E Lowndes (St Peregrine’s), C O’Callaghan (Cuala, capt), S Barrett (Na Fianna); E O’Donnell (Whitehall Colmcille), R Murphy (Kilmacud Crokes), S McClelland (Lucan Sarsfields); C Costello (Whitehall Colmcille), C Cronin (Cuala); C McHugh (Na Fianna), C Boland (St Oliver Plunkett’s Eoghan Ruadh), D Gormley (Ballinteer St John’s); C Conway (Kilmacud Crokes), O O’Rorke (Kilmacud Crokes), P Winters (St Brigid’s).

TIPPERARY: P Maher (Moyne Templetuohy); R Maher (Thurles Sarsfields), M Breen (Ballina), J Peters (Kilruane MacDonaghs); T Fox (Éire Óg Annacarty Donohill), T Hamill (Killea),

B Heffernan (Nenagh Éire Óg); B Maher (Kilsheelan Kilcash, capt); S Cahill (Thurles Sarsfields); J McGrath (Loughmore Castleiney); D Fitzell (Cashel King Cormacs); S Maher (Clonoulty Rossmore), T Gallagher (Kildangan);

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