Brian Barry predicts which three substitutes can change the All-Ireland Final.
Widely recognised as one of the best corner-backs in the country, Cahill is not limited to keeping corner-forwards quiet. Anybody who sees him plying his trade for Thurles Sarsfields will know the 25 year-old can play all over the field. Considering the form Paddy Stapleton and Cathal Barrett showed in the drawn game, it is unlikely Eamonn O’Shea will elect to put Cahill into the full-back line. The 2011 All-Star will most likely be deployed in the second half to keep tabs on one of Kilkenny’s dangermen. Be it TJ Reid at full-forward, or Richie Hogan at midfield, Cahill is more than capable of doing a job. To put it simply, Cahill is one of the finest hurlers in Ireland at present, and as difficult as it was for O’Shea to omit him from the starting 15, he is going to have a big say in the destination of Liam McCarthy.
Despite the looming presence of Henry Shefflin on the bench, it is Fogarty who will cause Tipperary backs the most worry. Shefflin has slowed, and is a shadow of his former glories. Meanwhile, ‘Taggy’ is the tidiest foward on the Cats bench, and is Brian Cody’s go-to man. Having been introduced for Walter Walsh after 49 minutes three weeks ago, the Emeralds clubman was impressive, despite not featuring on the scoresheet. Now 32, this may be his last chance to clinch a Celtic Cross, and will be chomping at the bit when Cody turns to his bench. If certain Tipperary backs enjoy such a degree of dominance again, it will not be long before Fogarty is thrown into action.
Jason Forde may be favoured among Tipp supporters to do a job if introduced, but Kelly oozes experience, and the occasion will in no way faze him. There were suspicions that the Mullinahone forward was simply brought in the last day to convert a penalty if required, having seen two missed from 21 yards earlier in the game. The manner in which Kelly burst onto the field with minutes left against Cork leave Premier fans confident he still has the legs in the twilight of his career. ‘Ní féidir ceann críonna a chur ar cholainn óg’ – you can’t put an old head on a young body. Kelly, one of Tipperary’s greatest ever hurlers, will have the temperament to step up to a high pressure free if required, and he will not miss.
Brian Barry, Pundit Arena.