Saturday 23 September 2017

Galway-Tipperary combined XV - Tribesmen shade it after a lot of close calls

Joe Canning, Conor Cooney and Seamus Callanan have been scoring freely this summer
Joe Canning, Conor Cooney and Seamus Callanan have been scoring freely this summer
Cormac Byrne

Cormac Byrne

What would a Galway-Tipperary composite team look like? I think it would have an almost even split.

For the third time in three years Galway and Tipperary are locking horns in an All-Ireland semi-final and the previous two meetings have been decided by a solitary point.

According to the betting markets and the Tribemen's comprehensive victory over Tipp in the league final, Michael O'Donoghue's side appear to have the edge.

Eight players from west of the Shannon make the team with the seven remaining positions occupied by Premier players.

Here is the Galway-Tipperary combined XV:

1. Colm Callanan (Galway)

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Galway goalkeeper Colm Callanan

Callanan made three terrific saves against Wexford and is firmly established as Galway's netminder. It helps when the lions share of his puck-outs are being won by teammates.

2. Cathal Barrett (Tipperary)

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Tipperary All-Star Cathal Barrett. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

He won't be involved on Sunday after being dropped for disciplinary reasons earlier in the year. Arguably, the best corner-back in the game when available.

3. Daithi Burke (Galway)

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Daithi Burke

He got the better of Seamus Callanan in last year's semi-final and similar heroics will be required this time around.

4. Aidan Harte (Galway)

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Galway's Aidan Harte in action against John McGrath of Tipperary. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

The Gort man is a no-nonsense defender and is a vital cog in the Galway defensive unit.

5. John Hanbury (Galway)

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John Hanbury

Hanbury has really benefited from his move out to the half-back line and has been given more of a chance to display his skills.

6. Ronan Maher (Tipperary)

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Tipperary's Ronan Maher in action against Kilkenny's TJ Reid. Photo: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Paddy Stapleton would have marked Joe Canning in the past but the mantle may pass to Maher. This clash is worth the admission fee alone.

7. Padraic Maher (Tipperary)

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Padraic Maher of Tipperary runs onto the pitch before the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 2 match between Dublin and Tipperary at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Few Galway fans will forget the monster hit on Joe Canning in the first half of last year's semi. He's been out-of-sorts in 2017 but returning to Croke Park can rekindle his form.

8. David Burke (Galway)

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Galway’s captain David Burke lifts the Bob O’Keeffe Cup aloft with President Michael D Higgins. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

A Rolls Royce of a midfielder and often the driving force behind the Tribesmen.

9. Brendan Maher (Tipperary)

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Cork’s Damian Cahalane stretches to block Brendan Maher’s effort for Tipperary during yesterday’s Munster SHC quarter-final in Thurles. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

He works tirelessly around the pitch and provides leadership when required. One of the best readers of the game in hurling.

10. Joseph Cooney (Galway)

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Joseph Cooney of Galway celebrates with Padraic Mannion at the end of the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Final match between Galway and Wexford at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile

Uses his 6'4" frame to massive effect and it not just a juggernaut. His ability to field a ball and flash over a snapshot is a joy to behold.

11. Joe Canning (Galway)

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Joe Canning of Galway celebrates with supporters at the end of the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Final match between Galway and Wexford at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

Is operating effectively in either half, dropping into his own defence and acting as a playmaker or tormenting opponents in attack. Looks more assured from frees too.

12. Noel McGrath (Tipperary)

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Noel McGrath of Tipperary reacts to a missed kick on goal in the third minute of the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Tipperary and Cork at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

His ability to score off the back foot is incredible and so difficult to defend against, rarely makes an error on the ball.

13. Conor Cooney (Galway)

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Joe Canning congratulates Conor Cooney (L) after his goal against Dublin in the Leinster SHC quarter-final in Tullamore. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

This man is the reason Galway are the favourites for the All-Ireland. His scoring prowess has eased the burden on Canning and he is fast becoming a superstar in his own right.

14. Seamus Callanan (Tipperary)

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Seamus Callanan of Tipperary in action against Eoghan O'Donnell of Dublin

His clash with Daithi Burke could decide the game. He's the most potent attacker in the game and he'll need to be hitting his straps in what should prove to be a high-scoring affair.

15. John McGrath (Tipperary)

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John McGrath in action for Tipperary. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

McGrath is still just 23 years of age but he has the poaching instincts of the veteran. Always a decent bet to be first goalscorer.

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