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'Tipp will feel like they have to win'


Nicky English

Nicky English

Nicky English

Tipperary legend Nicky English believes the Premier men will "feel like they have to win" the All-Ireland this year.

Eamon O'Shea's side take on Galway in Croke Park in the All-Ireland semi-final on Sunday, but after taking Kilkenny to a replay last year and collecting the 2015 Munster title, English wants them to take the next step.

"Of course, it won't be easily won at this stage, because Kilkenny are going to be there again," he said.

"I would say they will feel they need to win it this time. It's five years since they won it and they got pretty close last year - but there's still no trophy and still no medals.

"At least this year they have the Munster Championship. They'll build on that and I think they will feel they have to win it."

While Tipp saw off the Tribesmen in the championship last year, English warned that Anthony Cunningham's side look like a better team this time around.

"I think they've been pretty consistent this year," he said.

"In the first game against Dublin in Leinster, they were a little bit hit-and-miss, but once they got up and running - as they did the second day in Tullamore against Dublin - then that kind of set the tone for the season.

"If they can maintain that for the rest of the season...

"I thought it might be difficult for them after a pretty good performance in the Leinster final.

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"They were going back down to Thurles and playing Cork - not a recipe for previous good performances for Galway in the qualifier system.

"But they got over that hurdle really well and definitely got back on the bike in that game. I would have no doubt that Galway will play well."

English hailed Galway's forward play, which, apart from the Leinster final, has seen the scoring responsibility spread beyond Joe Canning.

"They didn't do in the Leinster final. Jason Flynn didn't play - he was injured - and Cathal Mannion was taken off. David Burke was taken off.

"That day, it came very much back to the Joe show - if Joe Canning wasn't going to score in the Leinster final, they weren't going to get the vital scores.

"Glynn and Donnellan were winning the ball, but they weren't necessarily scoring.

"But the last day, everyone scored and in that frame of mind - though, obviously, you'd have to question Cork - I've no doubt that they will play well.

"I think consistency is not going to be an issue this year."

And he warned that Tipperary have not yet met a team as physical as Galway in this year's championship.

"Some of Tipperary's reputation has been built on beating Limerick, who turned out not to be not at the races at all this year when it came to down to it. So, you would probably have to discount a bit of that.

"As for Waterford - well Tipperary were well able to deal with them in the Munster final, so I think they'll be a step up again because I think Galway are very physically powerful, and that will be a challenge for Tipp.

"Waterford just weren't physically powerful enough for Tipp and, as they ran out of steam carrying the ball, Tipp were able to deal with them easily.

"Tipp are in good shape and they'll need to be, because the tests are going to be much tougher from now on."

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