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Tipp driven to back up title, insists Galway boss O'Neill

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Galway manager Shane O'Neill. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Galway manager Shane O'Neill. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Galway manager Shane O'Neill. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Galway hurling boss Shane O'Neill believes the prospect of claiming back-to-back All-Irelands for the first time since 1965 is Tipperary's driving force this season.

O'Neill hopes Galway can bounce back against Tipp in Pearse Stadium this Sunday after losing out in their last clash to his native Limerick who he also rates as hot prospects in this year's championship.

Liam Sheedy's men have lost both opening league games to the Treaty men and Cork, but the new Galway boss reckons they have one eye on the summer.

"They have used a lot of players, a lot of young players, and they threw them on against Limerick in the second half when they were under the cosh. I assume they wanted to see how they would deal with it," said O'Neill.

"Liam and the management team are creating a competitive squad. They have held back Seamus Callanan, Noel McGrath, (John) Bubbles O'Dwyer - and trying a lot of young players as well.

"I'm sure they are looking at winning two in a row and historically Tipp have struggled with that, but I have no doubt that management team will be driving for that. Absolutely.

"But Munster and Leinster, first of all, are very difficult to get out of, which we saw last year and Tipp saw the year before.

"Limerick have been the standard bearers: Munster champions, league champions and All-Ireland champions before that. They are a serious squad, excellent management team, I think they are probably the favourites."

Sunday's clash will be the first meeting between the counties since the Tribesmen pipped Tipp in the 2017 All-Ireland semi-final on their way to Liam MacCarthy Cup glory.

Irish Independent