Tipperary have named an unchanged team for Sunday’s All-Ireland SHC final showdown with Kilkenny at Croke Park.
Manager Eamon O’Shea has kept faith with the starting team so impressive in their 2-18 to 1-11 semi-final win over Cork last month.
Defender Michael Cahill must again be content with a place on the bench, the 25-year old failing to regain the number four shirt since a knee injury kept him out of the quarter-final clash against Dublin.
Padraic Maher, though named at full-back, is expected to line out at left half-back, with James Barry reverting to the edge of the square. Team captain Brendan Maher will operate from centre-back despite being selected on the right flank of defence.
Five members of the Tipperary team will make their All-Ireland final debuts this weekend — Darren Gleeson, Cathal Barrett, James Barry, Kieran Bergin and John O’Dwyer.
There are eight survivors from the team which lined out against Kilkenny in the September 2011 2-17 to 1-16 defeat.
Meanwhile, PJ Ryan and John Power have added to the number of former Kilkenny players who believe Henry Shefflin should start on Sunday.
Eddie O’Connor, Charlie Carter and John Henderson all believe the 35-year-old should be in from the outset. Ryan said he would support the idea of Shefflin being named in the team as “I’m of his era and I’d vouch for him as a team-mate of him.”
Power also lined out with him earlier in Shefflin’s career and said: “I don’t think bringing on an older player is an option. On the sideline you’re tense and I don’t think you would get the same impact as if he started.
“I can understand why Brian (Cody) would not want to start him but it’s not as easy for an older player to adapt to the game coming on. You’re coming up against a younger player who is aggressive and will get at you straight away. You can’t fall into the pattern or play. It’s a lot more difficult.”
O’Connor stated: “I think Kilkenny should start Henry, he’s more than good enough, but that’s only my opinion, and far be it from me to tell the great man Brian Cody what to do.”
TIPPERARY (All-Ireland SHC v Kilkenny): D Gleeson (Portroe); C Barrett (HolycrossBallycahill), P Maher (Thurles Sarsfields), P Stapleton (Borris-Ileigh); B Maher (Borris-Ileigh), J Barry (Upperchurch-Drombane), K Bergin (Killenaule); S McGrath (Ballinahinch), J Woodlock (Drom & Inch); G Ryan (Templederry Kenyons), P Maher (Lorrha-Dorrha), J O’Dwyer (Killenaule); N McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney), S Callanan (Drom & Inch), L Corbett (Thurles Sarsfields).
KERRY (All-Ireland MBHC final v Meath, Nenagh tomorrow 1pm: S Murphy (Causeway); A O’Mahony, M Leane, S O’Sullivan; B Lyons, D Shanahan, M Lynch; R Collins, J Diggins; J Buckley, B Barrett (Causeway), A Murphy; J Diggins, F O’Sullivan, F MacKessy.
Subs: D Silles, J Brick, J Goulding, J Barrett, D O’Carroll, J Conway, B O’Riordan.
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