Fans were hopeful of victory, but few were ready to speculate on a runaway victory for Kilkenny against a younger Tipp team.
“We’ll do it but it’ll be one hell of a battle,” said John Mackey, chairman of Kilkenny GAA Supporters’ Club.
“This Tipp team is very strong, the lads will have a tough game on their hands,” he said.
Caroline and Gerry Murray, who travelled from Sallins, Co Kildare to watch the training session in Nowlan Park, Kilkenny felt confident of a black and amber triumph.
“I’m a Kilkenny woman, so I hope they’ll do it,” said Caroline. “It’ll be very tight, but we should clinch it by two points,” she said.
Dermot Gibbons from Kilkenny City, said he thought Kilkenny would “have to throw the kitchen sink and the entire house at it for the first 25 minutes if they’re going to get any result”.
“I reckon experience will win it for Kilkenny in the end, and I’d like to see Henry Shefflin held off from going on until the last 20 minutes,” said Dermot.
Tom Phelan, a Laois man living in Kilkenny City, said he hoped it would be a Tipp day out: “Tipp will be more hungry for it,” said Tom. “I also think if Shefflin and Cody get a record 10 All Irelands, they’ll be on such a pedestal they’ll never be reached, whereas all these lads are heroes at the end of the day.”
Sunday’s game marks the fourth All Ireland hurling final between the two teams in six seasons. Kilkenny last won the All Ireland in 2012, their 34th, while Tipperary took their last title, their 26th in 2010.