Tipp boss Liam Sheedy happy with his side's bench press
Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy has paid tribute to his bench for helping to keep the county's All-Ireland title aspirations alive.
Speaking at the official All-Ireland final press event in the Horse and Jockey, Sheedy acknowledged the influence of fresh legs as Tipp finished strongly to overcome Wexford after a classic semi-final contest.
"The match was probably won in the final quarter when the subs came off the bench and made a telling contribution; that was probably the most pleasing aspect, when our backs were to the wall," he said. "Like, our bench had been questioned during the Munster Championship and earlier on in the year - whether we had the quality. So I was thrilled to see the reaction we got from the bench the last day."
Despite having John McGrath sent off in the 45th minute and conceding two second-half goals, Tipp held their composure and managed to overturn a five-point deficit. Four of their points came from substitutes and one of those, Jake Morris, had a goal over-ruled after the referee failed to offer an advantage.
Willie Connors (51 mins), Ger Browne(53), Mark Kehoe (56), Alan Flynn (65) and under-20 star Morris (66) were sprung in the second half, with Tipperary finishing with more fuel.
Tipperary relied on most of the cast who won the 2016 All-Ireland under Michael Ryan when they accelerated from the blocks in the Munster round robin earlier in the season, defeating Cork in the first round and then making short work of Waterford in Thurles a week later. They continued their impressive form by defeating Clare in Ennis by 13 points. But they were well beaten by Limerick in the Munster final, a county envied for its strength in depth.
Sheedy will be facing up to a Brian Cody-led Kilkenny for the third time in an All-Ireland final as manager, following on from their meetings in 2009 and '10. His record reads one loss and one win.
"We lost out in the tail-end of the Munster Championship last year and when it came to the All-Ireland series we weren't involved. So to be back in an All-Ireland with our great rivals Kilkenny, it's great; there is a lot of tradition between the two counties. We watched Kilkenny's performance in the semi final, the way they went about their business, their work rate through the field was huge, we know exactly the kind of battle we're facing. Bur where else would you want to be but facing into an All-Ireland final?
"I just think we're going to have a cracking contest. I think the hurling championship has again given us a huge amount of entertainment. Hurling is in a great place and we are just thrilled to be back in there."
He said that the display against Wexford won't be enough to prevail on Sunday week. "We know the level of performance we had the last day in the semi final over the 70 minutes will not be enough. We have got to find a level that we did not find consistently over the 70 minutes.
"We have had good days and bad days. Some days it didn't go well and it encouraged us to go back and work harder. And when we needed to knuckle down against Wexford, we did, and to have that in our armour going into the final is very pleasing. But we just need to do it for a longer and more sustained period. If we do then we have a chance."