Thursday 15 November 2018

Maher earns recall as Michael Ryan shuffles pack for Kilkenny showdown

 

Tipperary's Brendan Maher. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Tipperary's Brendan Maher. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Michael Verney

Michael Ryan makes just one change to his Tipperary side for tomorrow's eagerly-anticipated Allianz HL final with Kilkenny in Nowlan Park (3.0) keeping faith with the new faces which have thrived throughout the campaign.

Brendan Maher, All-Ireland-winning captain two years ago, comes in at midfield with Tomás Hamill losing out in a switch which sees Ronan Maher moving back to wing-back.

With regulars like Seamus Callanan, Noel McGrath, Dan McCormack and Patrick 'Bonner' Maher all on the injured list, Ryan has been forced to delve deep into his squad ahead of the upcoming Munster SHC but the new additions have stood up.

Corner-back Alan Flynn, half-back Barry Heffernan and attackers Billy McCarthy and Willie Connors have all been rewarded yet again for their displays throughout the spring and Ryan will be hoping they can help Tipp to a first League win on enemy soil since 2008.

Having featured prominently in their extra-time defeat of Limerick last weekend, All-Stars Cathal Barrett and John 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer are once again held in reserve for the clash with the Cats.

Nowlan Park is expected to be near its 27,800 capacity for the next chapter of this storied rivalry, with Kilkenny boss Brian Cody unlikely to shuffle his deck with former All-Star Ger Aylward their only injury doubt.

Glenmore attacker Aylward hobbled off in the dying minutes of their hugely impressive semi-final defeat of Wexford last Sunday with a hamstring injury but the 11-time All-Ireland-winning manager was boosted by the return of Conor Fogarty.

Cody's eyes are firmly fixed on a ninth League crown and Fogarty is likely to come into his starting team after impressing off the bench last weekend having overcome a virus which kept him out for most of the spring.

Much like his Tipp counterpart, Cody has placed faith in youth during this League campaign ahead of a busy Leinster SHC where resources will be stretched with games in consecutive weeks and the likes of Enda Morrissey and Conor Delaney have impressed in defence.

Richie Leahy, Martin Keoghan, John Donnelly and Bill Sheehan have also held their hands up for championship inclusion and tomorrow will be the acid test for many of these young guns.

TIPPERARY (SH v KIlkenny) - D Mooney, A Flynn, J Barry, M Cahill; B Heffernan, Pádraic Maher, R Maher; B Maher, S Kennedy, S Curran, B McCarthy, J McGrath, M Breen, J Forde, W Connors.

Irish Independent

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