Tipperary’s momentum to prove too much for Dublin

Anthony Daly’s team face a huge task as they attempt to bounce back from heavy Leinster final defeat

It's difficult to oppose Tipperary. In the familiar surroundings of their Thurles citadel, bolstered by the momentum of largely freewheeling, high -scoring victories over Galway and Offaly, they are faced by a Dublin side who, by their own admission, were mortified by the nature of their performance in the Leinster final.

The bookmakers have the Premier County as odds-on, four-point favourites and the consensus among neutrals is that Tipperary will win. That’s the linear side of the equation on paper but sport tends to be a little more nuanced. There’s no doubt that there’ll be a backlash from Dublin, a collective will to atone from management and players.

They are a much better team than they demonstrated against Kilkenny and Dublin manager Anthony Daly will have recalibrated tactically.

There was an overemphasis in trying to shut down Kilkenny, and while they did deny them a goal, they created little up the other end. The Dubs sacrificed traditional athleticism that underpinned previous success, running hard at the opposition, instead launching ball into a heavily outnumbered forward unit.


Intensity levels

Dublin need to reintroduce much higher intensity levels but, more importantly, play a brand of hurling where instinct isn’t curbed and flair smothered. It’s important not to over-think in a sport where decisions must be processed in nanoseconds.

They’ll expend every ounce of energy because this time without victory there is no tomorrow in this championship.

Injuries are a consideration, more so the extent to which they hamstring selection, and in particular whether Danny Sutcliffe’s wrist allows him to properly display his huge ability. Michael Cahill is a late concern and may not be fit enough to take his place at left-corner back. He was not able to take a full part in training this week with a knee injury.

Peter Kelly and Liam Rushe offer a very strong defensive spine and they'll need to be at their best because they must try and contain two Tipperary linchpins in full forward Séamus Callanan, who has posted 5-23 already this season, and centre half-forward Patrick "Bonner" Maher.

If the Tipperary forwards win ball, they've demonstrated, how lethal they can be, with John O'Dwyer, Noel McGrath and Lar Corbett zipping the sliotar around. Dublin's backs though are better able, based on their physical prowess, to contain that threat than Galway or Offaly's.

Daly’s thoughts earlier in the week offered a glimpse into Dublin’s mental journey since the Kilkenny defeat.

“You can take the painful defeats but, like, when you just don’t turn up, it’s desperate stuff in your head. When you play a game like we did in the Leinster final, you feel nothing only really shame, that you let down your fans and your family and all that.”

Challenge game

He went on to talk about the soul searching, the physical release of training and no doubt the challenge game against Limerick but it was his admission that “until you go out on Sunday you can’t really know where you are,” that sums up from where tomorrow’s participants approach this game.

Tipperary have enjoyed a couple of morale-boosting victories while Dublin must recover from arguably the most disappointing performance of the last couple of seasons.

Three weeks and one challenge match looks a little on the skinny side. Dublin are good enough but they’ve got the longer journey to make in every respect.

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan is an Irish Times sports writer