Ashling Dalton discusses three things that could dictate the outcome of the All Ireland Final replay between Kilkenny and Tipperary.
We wait 53 years for a draw and three come along at once! Out of the the three drawn games of 2012, 2013, 2014, the last one undoubtedly takes the number one spot for entertainment value.
It had absolutely everything. Sublime skill, outrageous tackles, energy-sapping pace. If we get a replay half as good as the original, we can rest assured that hurling is in a fine place. Here are three factors that could influence Liam McCarthy’s destination for 2014.
1. Been there, done that.
Kilkenny have been here before, back in 2012. They know how to prepare for the three week lay-off and how to mentally prepare for another final.
Tipperary are in uncertain territory, considering the last time Tipperary were involved in an All Ireland replay was in 1908! Experience always gives you an edge on your opponent and Kilkenny will be hoping this particular edge will get them over the line.
2. More of the same, please.
Tipperary’s game-plan worked wonders for them on Sunday. They had one of the meanest backlines in the country at sixes and sevens with their off-the-ball switching and running from deep.
At one point Joey Holden ended up operating in the full back line with Paul Murphy operating out on the wing. They scored one goal and might have scored more had those two penalties been converted.
Tipperary will have to take their chances if they arise next time, they were well able to run Kilkenny ragged on Sunday, and will have to replicate that to be All Ireland champions.
3. Use of the bench.
For all the talk about the strength of Kilkenny’s bench, it was actually Tipperary’s bench that made more of an impact. Kilkenny did not introduce Henry Shefflin until the 65th minute. This is too short a time to make an impact.
While it is very hard to argue with Brian Cody and he very rarely gets it wrong, if Kilkenny are in trouble the next day, how he uses his substitutes will be crucial. The prospect of starting Henry Shefflin will surely be weighing on Cody’s mind.
Ashling Dalton, Pundit Arena.