Friday 23 February 2018

Ryan rings Tipp changes as O'Brien gets chance

Tipperary boss Michael Ryan: Determined to build on victory. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Tipperary boss Michael Ryan: Determined to build on victory. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Michael Verney

Michael Ryan makes eight changes from last September's emphatic All-Ireland SHC final win but his Tipperary side is still dripping in quality for tonight's opening Allianz HL Division 1A clash with Dublin in Croke Park.

An All-Star trio of defenders accompany newcomers Donagh Maher, Thomas Hamill and John O'Keeffe at the back while former senior footballer Steven O'Brien gets a chance to shine at half-forward after a frustrating 2016.

Seamus Callanan, Noel McGrath and John 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer will be expected to lead the scoring stakes with Aidan McCormack also getting a chance to impress in the inside line.

Ger Cunningham's youthful Dubs are thrown in at the deep end with three of last year's Leinster minor championship-winning side, Patrick Smyth, Cian O'Sullivan and Donal Burke, debuting.

Minus their eight-man Cuala contingent, along with the injured trio of Eamonn Dillon, Cian Boland and Chris Bennett, Cunningham has shown faith with an inexperienced side, which bears little resemblance to their 2013 Leinster SHC win.

Meanwhile, Brian Cody names All-Star wing back Pádraig Walsh at No 3 for tomorrow's intriguing clash with Waterford as 2015 All-Star full-back Joey Holden moves to corner-back while Pat Lyng, Sean Morrissey and Liam Blanchfield all get a chance in a new-look attack.

Elsewhere, 2015 Footballer of the Year Jack McCaffrey keeps his place in Dublin's side for their eagerly-anticipated Division 1 clash with Tyrone at GAA HQ tonight, while Eamonn Fitzmaurice hands out three debuts for the visit of Mayo to Tralee.

Ronan Shanahan, impressive midfielder Jack Barry and Adrian Spillane, son of Kerry legend Tom, all get to stake their claim.

Irish Independent

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