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Cats should start Walsh and Shefflin, says Duignan

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Tommy Walsh, Kilkenny

Tommy Walsh, Kilkenny

SPORTSFILE

Tommy Walsh, Kilkenny

KILKENNY should start Tommy Walsh and Henry Shefflin in the All-Ireland hurling final replay against Tipperary, says former Offaly star Michael Duignan.

The double All-Ireland winner believes the two legendary Kilkenny players, who have 16 All-Ireland medals between them, could be hugely influential when the epic struggle for Liam MacCarthy resumes in a fortnight's time.

Shefflin (35) only saw five minutes of action in last weekend's draw when he was called off the bench in the 66th minute and wing-back Walsh (31) got no game-time at all.

Duignan said he would start Walsh "because of the influence he could bring, the amount of ball he'd be on, his striking, his distribution, his ability to score from distance as well.

"No disrespect to Joey Holden but he's a man-marker, I don't think he has that range of hurling that Tommy has," he said. "I think Tommy would last the pace.

"Tipperary have six exceptional forwards, you're not going to keep them quiet.

"In a game like that, when it seems to be a given that John O'Dwyer or Noel McGrath is going to score three or four points from play. . . if that is a given then I'd have Tommy Walsh in the team.

"If lads are going to be putting up scores like that, with the light sliothar and the speed of the game, imagine the amount of ball he (Walsh) would get on in a loose, open game like that?

Influence

"I'd start both himself and Shefflin," Duignan added. "He still is such a presence and influence. If he gets a chance or two he's going to take them."

Duignan can also see the logic of holding Shefflin in reserve.

"If you had someone there playing really well, but I think there is a couple of gaps in that Kilkenny forward line," he said. "Remember (Peter) Canavan went off and came back on (in an All-Ireland final). That's not beyond the bounds of possibility.

"My feeling on the final whistle was that there was a little more room for Kilkenny to improve."

Duignan was speaking at the launch of a new 'app' called 'GAASTARS', that he and former Meath star Bernard Flynn have developed. It is free and intended to be a unique one-stop-shop for GAA fans.

Elsewhere Kerry's David Moran and Limerick's Seamus Hickey won the GAA/GPA Player of the Month awards for August.

History will be made at the TG4 All-Ireland women's football finals on Sunday week when, for the first time, all three deciders will be refereed by women.

Maggie Farrelly (Cavan) will oversee the senior final (Cork v Dublin), Mags Doherty (Wexford) will do the intermediate decider (Down v Fermanagh) and Cavan's Yvonne Duffy will ref the junior game (Wexford v New York).

Irish Independent