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Unchanged line-up sees Sheedy play hand early

LIAM SHEEDY has followed the predicted script by naming an unchanged Tipperary team for Sunday's All-Ireland SHC final showdown with Kilkenny at Croke Park.

The make-up of Kilkenny's team may be shrouded in some doubt ahead of tonight's announcement, but there has been no such debate in the Premier County following their emphatic semi-final success over Waterford.

Clearly, Sheedy was happy with the latest upward curve in Tipp's form graph that day. Secondly, unlike Brian Cody, his preparations haven't been blighted by a succession of injury problems -- major or minor.

The only slight worry concerned Brendan Maher, who injured his wrist in training at Maynooth's Carton House last weekend -- but, as expected, the in-form midfielder has been named in partnership with Shane McGrath.

Skipper Eoin Kelly has also fully shaken off the back problem that resurfaced ahead of the semi-final, and he's duly named at full-forward.

The Tipp line-up shows three changes in personnel from last year's All-Ireland thriller against the Cats, with Michael Cahill, Gearóid Ryan and Patrick Maher all set to start their first senior September showpiece.

The three losing out are James Woodlock, who has been sidelined all season with a broken leg, Pat Kerwick, who recently returned from injury in a challenge match, and Seamus Callanan, who has come off the bench in recent outings, delivering a goalscoring cameo against Galway in the quarter-final.

While Tipp seem certain to start as selected, positional alterations are anticipated. Noel McGrath is again named at right corner-forward, despite his Man of the Match performance at centre-forward against Waterford. Lar Corbett is listed in the other corner but another of his trademark roaming performances may well materialise.

Intriguingly, there are just two personnel changes from their disastrous championship opener against Cork at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, with Ryan and Patrick Maher subsequently promoted to the half-forward line.

TIPPERARY (SHC v Kilkenny): B Cummins; P Stapleton, P Curran, M Cahill; D Fanning, C O'Mahony, Pádraic Maher; B Maher, S McGrath; G Ryan, Patrick Maher, J O'Brien; N McGrath, E Kelly (capt), L Corbett.