Sunday 19 November 2017

Boost for Tipperary as Brian Cody gambles with squad

Tipperary manager Eamon O'Shea made no changes to his team, as if to send out a message to their rivals
Tipperary manager Eamon O'Shea made no changes to his team, as if to send out a message to their rivals
Kilkenny and Tipperary take almost identical records into Croke Park
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Brian CODY'S three-way selection gamble has added greatly to the intrigue surrounding this evening's All-Ireland hurling final replay - the third in successive years.

His decision to make no fewer than three changes, none of which involve promoting Henry 'record-chasing' Shefflin to the starting 15, is being interpreted in Tipperary as a sign of real worry in the Kilkenny camp as they pursue a 35th All-Ireland title.

Replacing two of the three half-backs who started the last day, underlines the depth of unease felt by the Kilkenny management as they reviewed a game where Tipperary scored 1-28 and missed several goal chances.

And while Kilkenny countered with 3-22, Cody is obviously banking on the introduction of Padraig Walsh and Kieran Joyce to the half-back line to close many of the channels which opened up for the Tipp attack.

Cody also ignored calls to select Shefflin in attack, opting instead for 22-year old John Power, who was the last of three forward subs brought in during the drawn game.

Shefflin, who is seeking a place in history by becoming the first player to win ten All-Ireland senior medals, was not despatched into action until the 66th minute, but is expected to play a bigger part this evening.

Tipp will be pleased to see Kilkenny tinkering with their line-up, believing that it's a sign of unease. Eamon O'Shea made no changes to his team, as if to send out a clear message to their rivals that they felt they had got things right and were ready to step up again.

It all adds to the interest in a game (5.0) that will be shown live on RTE and Sky Sports.

Irish Independent

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