PREVIEW: Will Tipp continue to recuperate in Dublin clash?

By Peter O'Dwyer

PREVIEW: Will Tipp continue to recuperate in Dublin clash?

By Peter O'Dwyer

In such a condensed championship, form and momentum are often fleeting advantages but for now at least, they're advantages at the back of a Tipperary side recuperating from a harrowing 12 months of hurling.

The Premier have been anything but deserving of that moniker in championship hurling since last year's defeat by Limerick in the Munster semi-final - a result repeated again this year of course. In between, Eamon O'Shea's men had a painful stint in Nowlan Park with the landlords of that particular establishment; something that did little to aid recuperation.

Despite that poor run of form though there remained the inkling that this team was too good not to emerge again should they be able to arrest the slide in time. Against Galway, they did just that and began their recuperation. Pummelling Offaly further improved the mental state of Tipp's men in blue and yellow.

Now, they're back and out to reach a semi-final against Munster champions Cork.

Standing in their way are Dublin who themselves went crashing out of their provincial championship having been easily swept aside by Kilkenny.

The Dubs are yet to replicate the form that saw them crowned Leinster champions a year ago but will fancy their chances of improving upon what was a lacklustre display against Cody's charges.

Key to Anthony Daly's hopes of leaving Thurles with a victory on Saturday will be the performance of All-Star Peter Kelly should he be tasked with picking up Seamus Callinan.

Callinan has been lethal this year, in league and championship, and will again be required to fire the Premier to glory. With 3-8 and 2-10 to his name against Galway and Offaly respectively, he's clearly a man in form.

Having called off his pursuit of Tommy Walsh, Lar Corbett has returned to the Tipp inside-forward line too. His performance against Galway was indifferent at best though and more will be required to cause the Dubs any serious problems.

The return of old stalwarts Paddy Stapleton and James Woodlock to defense and midfield respectively has brought Tipperary on substantially in the last two games and with Cathal Barrett also bedding into his new wing-back role nicely, the Premier have looked a more secure outfit of late.

Consequently, the forwards - Callinan in particular and aided and abetted by the magnificent Bonner Maher - have been free to pilfer the scores at the other end in the knowledge that they're now far more likely to be decisive with a more secure rearguard in place.

Daly, for his part, could be without Paul Schutte whose carrying a back injury while the Clareman must also decide whether to reintroduce Paul Ryan to his starting 15.

If the likes of Dotsy O'Callaghan and Tipperary-native Ryan O'Dwyer can get enough good ball they could expose the Tipperary rearguard who, despite improvements, are far from waterproof yet.

Arguably, neither side are at the height of their powers but a Semple victory on Sunday could be the shot in the arm that propels them back towards those levels once again.

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