Three in for Kilkenny while Tipp are unchanged

John Power, Pádraig Walsh and Kieran Joyce all come in for All-Ireland final

Kilkenny make three changes for Saturday's All-Ireland hurling final replay against Tipperary in Croke Park but Henry Shefflin's bid for a 10th All-Ireland medal will again begin on the bench. Although as speculated Walter Walsh reverts to the bench it is John Power who comes in at corner forward.

Kilkenny manager Brian Cody has brought Pádraig Walsh and Kieran Joyce into the team as well as Power with Joey Holden and the vastly experienced Brian Hogan losing out. Hogan, who was rumoured to have carried a back injury into the drawn match, is named among the replacements.

Tipperary will stick with the same team that started the last day, which means that injury concerns about Patrick Maher and team captain Brendan Maher, have been allayed over the past three weeks.

There is still no place for former All Star corner back Michael Cahill, who lost his place for the All-Ireland quarter-final against Dublin with a knee injury and appeared only as a late replacement in the semi-final against Cork.


He played very well however when brought into the team during the drawn final although not in either of the corners where Paddy Stapleton and Cathal Barrett had exceptional matches.

The Kilkenny changes are extensive with two thirds of the half-back line replaced. Pádraig Walsh, a brother of Tommy who is again named on the bench, returns to the side after being dropped for the drawn match. Despite having played most of his championship in the half forwards Walsh is selected in place of Holden at wing back.

Kieran Joyce was an ever-present in last year's championship but has struggled for game time this summer but he has been the number six jersey ahead of Brian Hogan, who ironically regained his place on the team for the team's previous replay, against Galway in the Leinster semi-final.

In attack John Power comes in for only his second senior championship start. Having made his debut off the bench in the Galway replay, he lined out against Dublin in the provincial final and comes into the team beside his brother Richie.

There is speculation in Kilkenny that the team will not line out as selected. In the drawn match the team enjoyed its best spell when Michael Fennelly was moved from the half forwards to centrefield and Richie Hogan went in at centre forward. The team may start with a similar configuration tomorrow evening.

There is also a possibility that Pádraig Walsh could switch back to the half forwards with defensive centrefielder Conor Fogarty dropping to wing back and Michael Fennelly joining Richie Hogan in the middle.

Cody has never shied away from making changes for All-Ireland finals despite it being a relatively unusual selection policy for teams that have been successful in semi-finals.

During his 16 years as manager he has announced teams for 13 All-Ireland finals, 15 if replays are taken into account, and during that period he has made 15 changes to teams lining out on the big day.

By contrast his 13 opponents over the course of 15 finals, including replays, have made only two changes.

A couple of Kilkenny's have been injury-enforced - JJ Delaney in 2006 and Michael Rice in 2012 - but the rest have been tactical. For instance before the replay two years ago he sprang Walter Walsh for his senior debut and the Tullogher-Rosbercon player scored 1-3 from play.

Over the years a number of the omissions have been controversial. Fourteen years ago Stephen Grehan was replaced by John Hoyne having played part of a soccer match the weekend before the final against Offaly. Cody denied at the time that the switch was a punishment.

In 2009 there was anger in Kilkenny when news that Martin Comerford had been dropped for Richie Hogan leaked out before the team had been announced.

The biggest selection story was however probably an inclusion rather than an omission when Henry Shefflin was picked to start the 2010 final despite having injured his cruciate in the semi-final.

KILKENNY: Eoin Murphy; Paul Murphy, JJ Delaney, Jackie Tyrrell; Pádraig Walsh, Kieran Joyce, Cillian Buckley; Richie Hogan, Conor Fogarty; Michael Fennelly, Colin Fennelly, Eoin Larkin; Richie Power, TJ Reid, John Power. Subs: David Herity, Brian Hogan, Joey Holden, Brian Kennedy, Lester Ryan (capt.), Tommy Walsh, Henry Shefflin, Aidan Fogarty, Walter Walsh, Mark Kelly, Jonjo Farrell.
TIPPERARY: Darren Gleeson; Cathal Barrett, Pádraic Maher, Paddy Stapleton; Brendan Maher (capt.), James Barry, Kieran Bergin; Shane McGrath, James Woodlock; Gearóid Ryan, Patrick Maher, John O'Dwyer; Noel McGrath, Séamus Callanan, Lar Corbett. Subs: To be announced.

Seán Moran

Seán Moran

Seán Moran is GAA Correspondent of The Irish Times