Tipperary’s season is well and truly up and running, as they recorded their second consecutive win of the Allianz National Hurling League on Saturday evening. Victories over Waterford and Wexford leave the Premier in a solid position in Division 1A, as they look towards the final two games.
Next Sunday, they head to Nowlan Park to face Kilkenny, and there’s sure to be no love lost between the two sides.
However, Tipp must deal with the added burden of those involved in the Fitzgibbon Cup final 24 hours beforehand. After yesterday’s Sigerson Cup final, Conor McCarthy, Jack Barry and Barry O’Sullivan were all named to start in Monaghan vs Kerry on Sunday afternoon, but all were withdrawn before throw-in.
Tipperary manager Michael Ryan made his stance perfectly clear as Tipp stars John McGrath, Jason Forde, Barry Heffernan and Paul Maher prepare for the final with UL.
“To be fair to those boys, we have four involved with UL. We’ve nobody on the DCU squad. Our four, we have to let them off. They won’t feature next weekend. I hope they won’t be too disappointed hearing that through the media!
“The facts are the facts, we can’t play them [twice] in 24 hours. Look, we’re carrying a fine panel. Those guys need game-time too.”
Ryan admitted it is a gruelling schedule, but it can be managed correctly.
“It’s hectic. We’ve just been as sensible as we possibly can. Thankfully we’re standing up straight… The Fitzgibbon is coming to its climax next weekend. At that stage we’ll be upon League day four. To be fair, any of the guys that have been involved, I don’t see any fatigue on them.
“The colleges aren’t killing them. They don’t train them, we train them. I think that’s a good balance.”
Last night’s star man was Jason Forde, who scored 2-09 to guide the Premier to victory. The Silvermines clubman made headlines for the right reasons last night, after last year’s controversial tie with Wexford. Ryan admitted that he was delighted to see Forde deliver.
“He’s an exceptional finisher, and he’s proven that yet again. He’s very, very good from the frees as well. It’s great to see a guy get himself into that kind of shape that he is, very comfortable and fighting hard for a jersey. That’s exactly what Jayo is doing.
“Next weekend, we just hope he gets through, and John and Paul and Barry. That they get through the Fitzgibbon, hopefully win it, because that’s a great competition. That’s the next best after what we’re at here as far as I’m concerned. I look through that UL teamsheet and it’s very strong.”
UL face DCU in the Fitzgibbon Cup final next Saturday in Mallow.