Dublin’s newest recruit is in a perfect position to analyse the Liam MacCarthy Cup decider having played against both Tipp and Kilkenny at Croke Park in the league and championship.
Of course, he is also a former Tipp senior forward too and his reasoned analysis is that the Munster champions will have two points to spare on Sunday.
He claims it won’t be a ‘goal-fest’ like last year’s five-goal thriller which secured hat-trick hero Lar Corbett the Hurler of the Year gong.
And he wouldn’t put it past Kilkenny gaining revenge for that defeat either and using their ferocious aggression as a lever to prise away the cup from the Premier County.
But when it comes to the cold hard facts of who will be crowned champions, he believes the good money is on Tipp.
“It won’t be as easy as a lot of people are saying,” said O’Dwyer. “You’re hearing this talk that, ‘Ah, sure Tipp are a way better, they had a harder semi-final and they’ll be battle hardened’. But Kilkenny are a wounded animal after last year. You can never beat Kilkenny easily and they have a point to prove. But I think it’ll be Tipperary by two points. “I’ve a bet on it, Tipp by two points.”
O’Dwyer will attend the final and admits it will be a bitter sweet moment for him watching his native county contest the final after overcoming his current team, Dublin, in the semi-final.
“I was talking to John O’Brien of Tipp the day after the Dublin game,” revealed O’Dwyer. “He said he had never been hit so hard in all his life, club games or county games, as he got off Dublin.
“It was a kind of a compliment but I was also going ‘ah feck off — we got beat’. It will be a bitter sweet moment seeing them there, because of the fact that I feel we should have been in it. When I say ‘we’, I mean Dublin.”
Asked if he could see any scenario materialising where Kilkenny might win, O’Dwyer said it is a strong possibility.
“They could do it just by sheer aggressiveness,” he continued. “I don’t mean that in a bad way. Kilkenny always play on the edge. They’ll play a Kilkenny style of hurling, sheer aggressiveness, doggedness. Then they have the hurlers in the forwards too. They’re all household names; Richie Power, Henry Shefflin, Richie Hogan, and any of them are match-winners.
Look at what they have on the bench as well, the likes of ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick. Imagine having a great day and your man is taken off and then you see ‘Cha’ coming on to replace him! So they have match-winners everywhere.”
nRyan O’Dwyer was speaking at the launch of the Kilmacud Crokes and Copper Face Jacks Night Club All-Ireland Hurling Sevens.