Tuesday 20 March 2018

Tipperary wheel out All-Stars for league opener

Tipperary hurler Paul Curran
Tipperary hurler Paul Curran

EYEBROWS were raised when Tipperary won more hurling All-Stars than Kilkenny last winter and all seven of them will start in their Allianz League opener tomorrow.

Manager Eamon O’Shea has already confirmed this will be his last year in charge and after losing the last two Division 1 league finals and last year’s All-Ireland final to Kilkenny, getting some early-season silverware looks like a priority for them.

Kilkenny may be starting the league severely understrength but the Premier County have made a strong statement of intent in their opening-day line-up to take on Dublin in Parnell Park.

Their starting team includes all of their All-Stars – Darren Gleeson, Brendan, Padraic and Patrick Maher, Shane McGrath, Seamus Callanan and John O’Dwyer – plus 2014’s Young Hurler of the Year Cathal Barrett.

The only new name is Joe O’Dwyer of Killenaule, a cousin of forward star ‘Bubbles’, who has been given a league debut at corner-back.

Paddy Stapleton and James Barry of their All-Ireland final team are both out after surgery, as is Michael Cahill, but the Tipp defence still looks particularly strong, especially as Paul Curran  (above) and Conor O’Mahony return to fill arguably their best central positions.

That releases Brendan Maher to partner Shane McGrath in midfield, Jason Forde and Denis Maher start in their particularly strong forward line and they start 11 of last year’s league final team.

Michael Carton returns from the suspension that kept him out of the Walsh Cup final to bolster the Dubs at full-back and Ger Cunningham has picked Danny Sutcliffe to partner Rory O’Carroll in midfield and continues with Liam Rushe at full-forward and Peter Kelly at centre-back.

Offaly have a new-look team for their big Division 1B derby opener against Laois, with James Dempsey, Colin Egan and Dermot Mooney the only survivors from last year’s same tie.

Waterford have made some dramatic changes for their opener against Limerick, naming ‘Brick’ Walsh at full-forward and former minor star Austin Gleeson at centre-back.

TIPPERARY (SH v Dublin) – D Gleeson; C Barrett, P Curran, Joe O’Dywer; K Bergin, C O’Mahony, Padraic Maher; S McGrath, B Maher; D Maher, Patrick Maher, J Woodlock; John O’Dwyer, S Callanan, J Forde.

DUBLIN (SH v Tipperary) – A Nolan; C O’Callaghan, M Carton, P Schutte; S Durkin, P Kelly, C Crummy; D Sutcliffe, R O’Carroll; C Keaney, E Dillon, C Cronin; P Ryan, L Rushe, M Schutte.

OFFALY (SH v Laois) – J Dempsey; P Camon, D Shortt, S Egan; E Nolan, C Egan, D Mooney; S Wynne, S Ryan; T Carroll, S Kinsella, D Currams; S Dooley, P Murphy, S Quirke.

WATERFORD (SH v Limerick) - S O’Keeffe; S Fives, B Coughlan, N Connors; T Bourke, A Gleeson, Philip Mahony; J Barron, T Devine; K Moran, Pauric Mahony, J Dillon; B O’Halloran, M Walsh, M Kearney.

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