Eoin Kelly has stated that he can see Tipperary boss Michael Ryan making a shock decision for this Saturday’s qualifier clash with Dublin by dropping prolific marksman Seamus Callanan.
Kelly believes that following Tipp’s upset loss to Cork at the quarter-final stage of Munster, Ryan could be on the verge of ringing a number of changes that would not only send shockwaves through the stands and terraces, but also through his own dressing room.
Writing in his Paddy Power blog, the Tipperary legend shared his thoughts on the team selection ahead of the Premier County manager for this weekend, insisting that he must get it right. The team is running low on confidence at the moment after back-to-back defeats, including a 16-point hammering at the hands of Galway in the league final and that championship opener shortcoming against the Rebels. They then struggled past Westmeath at home on Saturday.
Therefore, they need an emphatic victory in Thurles this weekend to propel that back up to the level which saw them storm to All-Ireland glory last year.
Are wholesale changes, including starting with the panel’s biggest names on the bench versus the Dubs, the answer Michel Ryan is looking for? The 2010 All-Ireland winning captain expressed his views:
“Seamus Callanan is suffering from a lack of form and the whole Tipperary team’s confidence has taken a big battering recently.
“It’s worrying that Callanan is not on top of his game too, because for the last three years he has been utterly phenomenal.”
Callanan, the All-Star full-forward, is widely regarded as one the finest attackers and stickmen in the game. Were he to be dropped by Ryan come Saturday evening, eyebrows would certainly be raised in the Premier County and further afield. The Drom-Inch star man’s lack of the sizzling hot form we have come to expect from him so far this season is a surprise, but maybe it is not his own fault.
“A shift out to the half-forward line might free him up and get him back on the ball.
“Sometimes if your half-backs and midfield are not dominating, the full-forward line can be a lonely place,” Kelly writes.
Something must give for Tipp this weekend off they are to get back to winning ways.
“There will be two or three fresh faces against Dublin that didn’t play against Cork, so lads are getting their chance to bring a bit of hunger back into the team. That’s what Tipp boss Michael Ryan is trying to do.
“So I wouldn’t be surprised if he dropped Callanan this weekend against Dublin.
Callanan might not be the only marquee forward whose place in the team is under threat for the crucial qualifier. Also, big calls similar to this have worked out in the past for the Tipp bainisteoir. Tipp’s all-time leading scorer points to this in his arguement:
“Ryan might well be ruthless with a couple of these guys. Seamus Callanan, John McGrath and John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer would be on my team to face Dublin but we’ve seen in the past that, when they are left off the pitch they bite back.”
If this is what the Upperchurch-Drombane clubman feels it will take to do in order for his side to get their mojo back ahead of the All-Ireland series, then there is no doubt that he will be ruthless in his approach. One thing for certain is that, if Tipp are to re-establish themselves as genuine top contenders to retain their Liam MaCarthy Cup this year, they must beat Dublin on Saturday, and beat them convincingly.
Check out the latest episode of our weekly GAA podcast, The 16th Man, where we preview the hurling qualifiers and look ahead to all the weekend’s action.