Monday 24 October 2016

Kilkenny's Kieran Joyce set to get the nod for All Ireland final against Tipperary

Kilkenny and Tipperary are expected to keep changes to the minimum for final showdown

Published 02/09/2016 | 02:30

Joe Canning, Galway, in action against Kieran Joyce, Kilkenny
Joe Canning, Galway, in action against Kieran Joyce, Kilkenny
Kilkenny's Kieran Joyce. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile

Kieran Joyce is the favourite to be recalled by Kilkenny for Sunday's All-Ireland final as they seek to fill the sizeable gap caused by a season-ending injury to Michael Fennelly.

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Fennelly suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in the All-Ireland semi-final replay against Waterford. Joyce lost his place for that game after a difficult drawn game in Austin Gleeson's company, but Fennelly's injury and a different challenge from the Tipperary half-forward line looks like it could prompt the return of Joyce when the team is announced tonight.

Joyce was brought in out of the blue for the replayed All-Ireland final two years ago to specifically pick up Tipperary centre-forward Patrick 'Bonner' Maher who had been a key influence in the drawn game.

But Joyce effectively shut out Maher and was the choice of many for man of the match despite not featuring in any of the four previous games.

Joyce's potential return would release Conor Fogarty back to midfield where he has been more comfortable since establishing himself there in 2014. Fogarty was centre-back in the Waterford replay .

Restoring Jonjo Farrell is another option Brian Cody and his management are sure to have considered hard ahead of final confirmation.

Farrell was the in-form forward in their Leinster Championship campaign.

But Liam Blanchfield, who was promoted the last day and rewarded his manager's faith with three points, is sure to be retained.

Tipperary look set to recall John O'Dwyer when they name their team tonight. It's the only probable change with Niall O'Meara the most likely to lose out.

O'Dwyer didn't start the All-Ireland semi-final after serving a one-match suspension for a red card picked up in the Munster semi-final against Limerick.

Irish Independent

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