Sport Hurling

Sunday 18 March 2018

Kelly gets green light to lead Tipperary front line

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

DESPITE worries about a recent back niggle, Tipperary captain Eoin Kelly will lead his troops into battle against Waterford in Sunday's All-Ireland SHC semi-final.

Kelly has trained very lightly this week to ensure no further hiccups and was named at full-forward last night but, is expected to line out in his usual corner-forward spot.

And after a week of speculation about the make-up of the Tipp half-forward line, it is Toomevara's John O'Brien who been given the big vote of confidence.

As expected, Tipp manager Liam Sheedy has left Shane McGrath to partner Brendan Maher in midfield and his move allows O'Brien, who did well off the bench in their thrilling quarter-final defeat of Galway, to come in at wing-forward.

Championship newcomer David Young, who was brilliant at wing-back against Wexford but struggled at midfield against Galway, is the one to lose out.

Previous centre-forward regular Seamus Callanan goaled when he came in for Young last time out and was one battling for a half-forward spot. It is believed Brian O'Meara, after impressing in the U-21 campaign, was also in the running.

But it is Patrick 'Bonner' Maher of Lorrha, another championship newcomer this summer, who has been entrusted with the task of facing up to Waterford's pivotal centre-back Michael 'Brick' Walsh.

The Tipperary half-forward line has been a problem area in recent seasons but Gearoid Ryan, Maher and O'Brien have now been entrusted with the difficult job of breaking up the brilliant Decies half-back line that includes Walsh and the ageless Tony Browne.

TIPPERARY (SH v Waterford) -- B Cummins; P Stapleton, P Curran, M Cahill; D Fanning, C O'Mahony, Padraic Maher; B Maher, S McGrath; G Ryan, Patrick Maher, J O'Brien; N McGrath, E Kelly, L Corbett.

Irish Independent

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