Friday 15 December 2017

O'Callaghan preparing for Tipp backlash in Dubs' trip to Thurles

Dublin hurler Cian O’Callaghan. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Dublin hurler Cian O’Callaghan. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

While Dublin chiefs have made their dissatisfaction with being sent to Semple Stadium for Saturday's hurling qualifier with Tipperary clear, defender Cian O'Callaghan wants to concentrate on the on-field action regardless of where the game is played.

Dublin haven't given up hope of having the game moved to a neutral venue and are set to make representations to the GAA this week.

However, when asked about the possibility of going to the home of the All-Ireland champions for the tie, Cuala man O'Callaghan insists it is "just another challenge" for his side to overcome.

"We can't do anything about (where it is played). We are happy enough to play wherever," he said at the announcement that AIG are offering a 10pc discount when customers they purchase travel insurance online.

"Teams would say the same thing about Dublin in Croke Park, that it is a home venue.

"I know a lot of the Munster teams have to go to Thurles the whole time so it is just another challenge," said the Cuala defender.

Dublin's form has been underwhelming so far this season as Ger Cunningham continues his rebuilding job. Relegation from the top flight of the league in the Spring was followed by a comprehensive defeat at the hands of Galway in Leinster.

Tipp have been similarly unconvincing since their league final defeat to the Tribesmen as they laboured past Westmeath last weekend.

However, O'Callaghan is expecting a backlash from Micheal Ryan's men.

"I am sure Tipp will look on this as the game to ignite their summer. I suppose they are coming from the same perspective as us, it is a huge match, a huge championship match.

"There is no bigger challenge than playing Tipp. When you are a young lad, the dream is to play the All-Ireland champions, the dream is to play big matches.

"There are a lot of lads in the Dublin camp who have that attitude, they want to see one-on-one are you better than the man you are marking? And as a unit, can you beat the best team in the country?"

He also insists all the pressure will be on the All-Ireland champions rather than Dublin's young side.

"All the pressure is on them. There's no pressure on us because nobody gives us a chance.

"We give ourselves a chance but I know the media gives us no chance, people in Tipp will be giving us no chance, so it's a good way to be going into a match."

SATURDAY'S FIXTURES (extra-time if necessary)

All-Ireland SHC Qualifiers Rd 2: Tipperary v Dublin, Semple Stadium, 5.0; Waterford v Kilkenny Semple Stadium, 7.0 - Sky Sports

All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers Rd 3A: Meath v Donegal, Páirc Tailteann, 6.0; Clare v Mayo, Cusack Park, 5.0 RTÉ

All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers Rd 2B: Westmeath v Armagh, Cusack Pk, 7.0; Wexford v Monaghan, Wexford Pk, 3.0; Carlow v Leitrim, Dr Cullen Pk, 3.0; Cavan v Tipperary, Breffni Park, 2.0

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