Tyrone braced for formidable Tipperary test in Thurles

Loss of George Hannigan and Stepen O’Brien big blows to Premier County’s hopes

Tipperary’s Colin O’Riordan in action against Limerick during  the Munster U-21 hurling semi-final in midweek. He will line out against Tyrone at Thurles. Photograph: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Tipperary’s Colin O’Riordan in action against Limerick during the Munster U-21 hurling semi-final in midweek. He will line out against Tyrone at Thurles. Photograph: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

 

For teams who have never met each other, you can’t say this pair don’t have history.

The fall-out from the All-Ireland under-21 final back in May is what makes this an unlikely grudge match and though both sides have had the brooms out and the carpets up this week, there’s no denying Tipperary will have to do some mental preparation for this.

This might not be an overly experienced Tyrone team but they will enjoy nothing more than squishing a Tipp team that feels it has to try and out-macho them.

Peter Creedon’s side might never have a better chance to take the sort of scalp that will confer credibility on football in Tipperary.

The huge crowd that turned up in Semple last month left deflated at the comfort with which Kerry progressed – it would be a huge shame if the same happened here.

On pure ability, Tipperary mostly have Tyrone’s measure. They just have to convince themselves of it.

The loss of George Hannigan and Stephen O’Brien is going to be tough to overcome. On top of that, Colin O’Riordan will be taking the pitch in Semple just 42 hours after walking off the one in the Gaelic Grounds after an epic Munster under-21 hurling semi-final against Limerick. He can only have had time to sleep, stretch, swim and sleep again in the meantime.

If Tipp had those three fit and firing, they’d be borderline favourites here. As it is, and though Tyrone have no form to speak of coming in here, you’d imagine that Joe McMahon, the two Cavanaghs, Matty Donnelly and Peter Harte will gather up enough ball around the middle third to find a way to eke out the victory.

TIPPERARY: Evan Comerford; Ciarán McDonald, Paddy Codd, Jimmy Feehan; Séamus Kennedy, Peter Acheson, Alan Campbell; Colin O’Riordan, Martin Dunne; Brian Fox, Conor Sweeney, Liam Casey; Kevin O’Halloran, Michael Quinlivan, Philip Austin.

TYRONE: Niall Morgan; Aidan McCrory, Ronan McNamee, Cathal McCarron; Ronan McNabb, Joe McMahon, Peter Harte; Colm Cavanagh, Matty Donnelly; Tiernan McCann, Mark Bradley, Rory Brennan; Darren McCurry, Seán Cavanagh, Conor McAliskey.

Verdict: Tyrone.

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