Throw-in is getting closer and closer as hurling’s oldest and probably greatest rivalry gets ready to write another chapter in its thick history book. Tipperary and Kilkenny are ready for another All-Ireland final where titles and local bragging rights are on the line. We see many similarities with the game in 2010, that Tipp won, here we explain why.
1. A One Point Win Over Galway In A Cracker
The expectations on Tipp are surprisingly low ahead of Sunday as they were back in 2010. Kilkenny are understandable favourites and their record in finals as well as their recent record against Tipp can only compound this. Tipp have been playing well all year and rose to their biggest test against Galway.
The consensus seems to be that Tipp were poor against Galway this year and that a reciprocal of that performance won’t do against the Cats. Tipp have been playing well all year long. Galway provided their biggest test and they responded in the right way. They had a very similar game against Galway in 2010 and will be hoping for lightning to strike twice.
2. An Injury To A Key Kilkenny Player
It was Henry Shefflin in 2010, 2016 sees the turn of Michael Fennelly. Shefflin tore his cruciate knee ligament in the semi-final with Cork in 2010. He still managed to line out in the All-Ireland final but lasted a total of 12 minutes and his loss was felt as Tipp went on to win.
Michael Fennelly does not have the match winning qualities that Shefflin had in his locker, but his loss will be heavily felt around the middle third. His physical presence and his all round quality does lessen the quality of the Kilkenny team and Tipp should be trying to capitalise on this.
3. Tipp’s Hunger Should Be Greater
Hunger is a big word in any game but particularly a final. In general, the team that is best in a final will win it, but when it comes to games between Tipp and Kilkenny the best team has often been the hungrier team. In 2009. Kilkenny’s hunger dragged them over the line despite being second best for most of the game. 2010, Tipp’s hurt from the previous year gave them that extra hunger.
The 2014 replay saw Kilkenny play like a pack of greyhounds chasing a false rabbit around a course, such was their appetite for work and tackling. Tipp’s hunger should be greater then Kilkenny’s this weekend. They are being asked so many questions, and are been written off in certain circles, they should want to do everything in their powers to prove people wrong.
4. Tipp Have Been Close In Recent Times
Tipp were waiting to get their hands on Kilkenny after the 2014 season. In 2015, they won the Munster title and thought Kilkenny were the only team that lay in their way on the path to Liam McCarthy. The eye was firmly taken off the ball and a poor All-Ireland semi-final performance was duly punished by Galway.
This game may be 12 months later than Tipp would have wanted, but they are now getting their shot at revenge for 2014. They will feel that they left the drawn game behind them and they should have a long list of regrets after the replay where they out-thought, out-muscled and out-worked by Kilkenny. They know how close they were in 2014, there is no reason why they shouldn’t be closer now.
5. They Can Stop A Kilkenny Milestone
It was five-in-a-row that became known as ‘The Drive For Five’ in 2010. The milestone is not as elusive this time around but it would be argued by many that this current group of Kilkenny hurlers winning three-in-a-row would be a greater achievement then the four-in-a-row that was captured between 2006 and 2009.
What better motivation is there for Tipp, then to stop their greatest rivals achieving another big milestone. There is nothing wrong with two All-Ireland’s in a row, but three is a more prestigious amount. Tipp stopped five-in-a-row back in 2010, will they stop three-in-a-row in 2016?