Sport Hurling

Thursday 26 April 2018

Premier must go out 'all guns blazing' in showdown

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

TIPPERARY can put the final nail in the coffin of the great Kilkenny team on Saturday according to Premier legend Pat Fox.

The two-time All-Ireland champion and five-time Munster winner ,who starred in the '80s and '90s, believes that the whole country wants his native county to beat the All-Ireland champions in the eagerly-anticipated and sold-out clash at Nowlan Park.

Dublin's Leinster semi-final win over the Cats last weekend has blown the hurling season wide open, with one of what had many believed to be the top two teams set to exit the championship this weekend.

And Fox believes that Eamon O'Shea's men have all the incentive they need to go to Brian Cody's side's home patch and get a win.

"This is the best chance that any team have now," he said when asked if Tipperary could finish off Kilkenny. "Their form has dropped a lot. This is Tipp's chance and everyone else's chance. I think everyone else will be hoping to see Tipp beat them.

"It's going to be very difficult going down to Nowlan Park and taking them on in their own back yard, but at the same time Kilkenny have a lot of injury problems. It's after giving our guys a bit of a lease of life, to think they have a reasonably good chance of winning.

BOOSTED

"They're boosted by the way Kilkenny are going. If our forwards get their act together they have a great chance. It's serious, it's the knockout stages.

"It's up to the players themselves. They didn't do it prior to this. They have only one chance now and they have to come out all guns blazing."

Fox believes that the shocks which have opened the championship up are only good for the game, with Limerick facing Cork in the Munster final and the Dubs meeting Galway in an unprecedented Leinster showpiece.

"It's good for hurling that you have Limerick back in the fray and Cork have also made their comeback. Actually it was boring to see Tipp v Kilkenny (year after year). You need seven or eight teams involved. It's great to see Dublin involved."

Fox reckons that whoever can get their attack right this weekend will come out on top.

"Kilkenny are definitely well below-par but Tipp are the same, they didn't play that well against Limerick," he said at the announcement that Fighting Blindness has been selected as an official GAA charity partner.

"Both sides need to up the ante if they're going to go any further in this championship. It is a difficult match for both of them.

"Our forwards played poorly against Limerick. Our backs played reasonably well. We'll definitely need, up front, to be on our game."

Irish Independent

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