Three key battles between Kilkenny and Tipperary

These three contests could decide the destination of the Liam MacCarthy Cup...

Joey Holden v Seamus Callanan

It’s aerial ball that Holden has on occasion struggled with but that isn’t the type of delivery Tipperary intend sending the way of Callanan. Holden is a better defender in foot-races but it’s essential that for every ball Callanan does gather that the full-back, like JJ Delaney did in the replay two years ago, gets something on him. John McGrath will drift out with the intention of creating space in front of Callanan but Tipperary may consider the consternation caused by Clare’s aerial bombardment in the Division 1 quarter-final. McGrath is a slightly better fielder of the ball than Callanan.

Colin Fennelly v Pádraic Maher

Walter Walsh has looked the part these last couple of games at wing forward and it would be no surprise if he and Maher were to square off. Likewise, Fennelly was so good closer to goal against Waterford in Thurles. However, Brian Cody may think back to how much trouble Fennelly caused Maher in the league game in Nowlan Park earlier this year. Fennelly spoiled Maher more than put him on the back-foot and surely Kilkenny will see the benefit of nullifying their opposition’s most talismanic figure. On the other wing, Kilkenny will likely put one of their seasoned men on greenhorn Seamus Kennedy.

Conor Fogarty v Michael Breen

Who’s to say, even with Michael Fennelly fit, that this might have been the midfield clash? Most if not everyone anticipates Fogarty will be restored to the centre today where he will be charged with standing Breen up before he gets into that penetrating stride of his. Fogarty’s all-round game has come on so much this year and he’s no longer the unsung hero, ably picking off points from distance like James “Cha” Fitzpatrick in his pomp. Breen, though, has such an engine that Fogarty could be driven to distraction ensuring that his runs forward, so often off the ball, are tagged.

Don’t miss the Irish Examiner GAA Podcast. Daithi Regan, Tadhg O’Connor, Eddie Keher, Eamonn Murphy and PM O’Sullivan join Peter McNamara to discuss the Kilkenny v Tipperary All-Ireland hurling final.


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