Tipperary will lose aerial battle, says Nicky English

Former All-Ireland winning manager Nicky English believes Tipperary should accept that they’re going to concede aerial possession to Galway’s powerful forwards and must simply concentrate on what to do next.

The legendary Tipp figure said it’s virtually certain that Galway forwards like Jonathan Glynn, Cyril Donnellan and Joe Canning are going to beat their men in aerial contests during Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final.

Glynn in particular proved troublesome for Cork’s defenders in the quarter-final and English believes it’s certain that he will consistently win primary possession again.

“I think you’ve got to accept that Johnny Glynn is going to catch the ball,” said English. “You’ve got to be prepared for the second phase.

“Johnny Glynn is going to catch the ball and that’s going to be it. You can’t be disappointed if he catches the ball because that’s just what he does. You’ve got to stop him from thereafter I think.

“I don’t expect Johnny Glynn will play full-forward, Galway switch around anyway. But Tipp have to be prepared for Galway winning ball in the forward line. They’ve become very good ball winners, the likes of Donnellan and Glynn. Tipperary have to be able to deal with them as Kilkenny did in the Leinster final. Johnny Glynn caught ball early but Kilkenny were able to get players around him and that’s probably the key.

“He’s a phenomenal athlete and a phenomenal player. After the last day against Cork, his confidence will be even higher.”

The 2001 All-Ireland winning manager acknowledged, however, that Tipperary couldn’t be in much better shape for the Croke Park contest.

All of their big gun players are firing and English has been impressed that current boss Eamon O’Shea has been able to seamlessly transition rookie players like Ronan Maher and Michael Breen into the first-team set-up.

“I think yes is the answer to the question of whether Tipp are in good shape, they are in very good shape though I think they’ll need to be because the tests are going to be a lot tougher now, particularly Galway,” said English.

“Everything has run pretty smoothly for Tipperary so far in the Championship. At the same time, some of their reputation is built on beating Limerick well in the Munster championship, now Limerick turned out to be not at the races all year when it came down to it, so you probably have to discount a bit of that result.

“Against Waterford, really Tipperary were able to deal with them in the Munster final but I think it’ll be a step up again because Galway are very physically powerful.

“Waterford weren’t physically strong enough for Tipp and as they ran out of steam carrying the ball, Tipp were able to deal with them easily enough. But do I think Tipp are in a good position? Yes, of course.”

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