Henry Shefflin has suggested that Brian Cody might switch TJ Reid to full-forward to avoid the man-marking attention he has experienced against Dublin and Offaly this month.
Ahead of Galway’s first Leinster game in Pearse Stadium on Sunday, Austin Gleeson spoke of how closely Gearóid McInerney tracked him in last year’s All-Ireland final. And Reid could be in for similar treatment if he lines out at centre-forward in Salthill.
However, after the detailing done on Reid by Eoghan O’Donnell and Pat Camon in recent weeks, Shefflin thinks Cody might have something else planned for his Ballyhale Shamrocks club-mate.
“I didn’t come across it that much, this football tactic of man marking a player, where you’re just standing beside him, pulling him, hugging him, at it constantly.
I think players need more protection from linesmen and umpires to get away from that. Because if you have a player who doesn’t have any interest in the ball, well, for me it’s a very hard thing because you just want to go back out and play.
“That’s something that Brian might look at, maybe putting him (Reid) into full-forward, getting him away from that because then the defender has a big job to do, ‘Am I defending my full-back line and goalkeeper or am I just worried about TJ?’
“He (the defender) could leave gaping holes. It’s something he’s probably getting used to. But it is going to be a challenge definitely for the Championship. Because he’s such a marked man now.”
Shefflin, who sees Colin Fennelly starting against Galway and reports Richie Hogan is on the comeback trail, mentioned in his autobiography how he coaxed Reid not to quit Kilkenny in 2012. Considering the form he’s in, it’s just as well Shefflin intervened.
Shefflin’s comments last weekend that Tipperary had regressed since their 2016 All-Ireland success were put to Michael Ryan on Tipp FM on Tuesday and he thinks the manager now has to simply pick his most proven players.
“For me, and it’s very easy on the outside to say, but you get your best players on the field. So Seamus Callanan, Brendan Maher, who else was there, Bonner (Maher), (Michael) Breen, so I would put them on the field. I don’t know where you’d put them but I would have them on the field.
“I would put Ronan Maher midfield, he played brilliant there in the league, I found it strange they put him back on TJ.
"We talk about TJ being man marked, Pádraic Maher was the obvious choice, so that was a strange decision. And I think the game now is speed and strength, there’s so much of that and Michael Breen has that in abundance so, you know, that would definitely be one as well.”
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