Sean O'Shea by Sean O'Shea
Tipperary can defeat Kilkenny for a breath of fresh air in All Ireland huring final
Posted on Friday, September 03, 2010 at 12:19 PM
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Tipperary will start the All Ireland hurling final as rank outsiders against Kilkenny but can upset the champion's bid for five in a row.
31 of the 32 counties will be hoping for a Tipperary win. Kilkenny have a great team but every possible story and angle has been written to death about them.
Fresh hands on the Liam McCarthy cup would deliver a huge boost to hurling
Last year Tipp had the measure of this Kilkenny team but inexperience and a disputed penalty put paid to their chances.
They are a year older and wiser and I can't see that Kilkenny have come on much in the meantime.
There is a huge question mark over Henry Shefflin, their best player,(pictured above) who is expected to start despite suffering an allegedly serious knee injury.
He has risen Lazarus like from the injured ranks to claim his place but one wonders how fit can he truly be.
Shefflin is the playmaker for Kilkenny, the man every forward movement goes through. If he is not fully fit he will be a huge loss
Kilkenny may be among the best teams of all time but Tipperary never fear Kilkenny like so many other counties.
In Eoin Kelly Tipperary have the second best player in Ireland after Shefflin.
In the semi final against Waterford Kelly appeared to be having a poor game, missing some frees, then suddenly roared to life in the second half with a sublime goal-- the mark of a great player.
I think this young Tipperary team will have the legs on Kilkenny in the final quarter, especially if their youthful half forward line manages to win enough ball.
What they need to guard against is the Kilkenny onslaught from the opening bell. Cork were out of the game after 15 minutes in the semi-final. Waterford were destroyed in the 2008 hurling All Ireland in the same manner.
An over-confident Tipp lost to Cork in the first round of the Munster championship this year, but it may have been the best thing to happen to them.
They have been tried and tested since, winning narrowly against Galway and having a struggle for a time to beat Waterford.
Kilkenny have hardly been tested but they will be on Sunday. I believe they will be found wanting. Tipp to win by 2-18 to 2-14