Thursday 23 November 2017

Expert view: Brian Carroll

Offaly captain

All eyes will be on the Tipperary half-forward line to see how they cope with the ever- dominant Kilkenny half-back line. But I think the Tipp half-forwards get a lot of unfair criticism.

They wouldn't be hurling for Tipp if they weren't good players and they have such a strong full-forward line in front of them, it's no wonder that they are sometimes by-passed. From Tipperary's point of view, the season has gone well since the defeat to Cork. They have been building up steadily to get to where they are now. They have a great chance to make history as the team which stopped Kilkenny. Everyone remembers that it was Offaly that beat Kerry in the football in 1982 so that's a serious motivation for Tipp.

For Kilkenny, the big thing is how much a part Henry Shefflin will play. You'd imagine he won't see out the full 70 minutes. Brian Hogan is a big loss but their strength in depth is evident for all to see. It'll be a lot like last year's final -- there will be very little in it again.

Verdict: Kilkenny

Irish Independent

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