Sports

Tipperary Set To Mantain Unbeaten Run Against Kilkenny

Thursday, 9 March 2017

TEAM manager Michael Ryan was adamant with his after match comments against Clare that Tipp try hard to win every league game and next Saturday night will be no different.
With little room to manoeuvre Tipp have a six day turn around as they face their great rivals in the unusual setting of floodlights, Tipp's second league game under lights this year. Kilkenny won their first game last Sunday when defeating Cork. The Cats will be striving for a win to stay out of relegation trouble.
 'Yeah. We've Kilkenny next Saturday coming to town here. It's a little unusual for us as it's our second night-time game and we usually get away with one but it's two this year. Gathering up points for them is huge next week. We love a chance to play Kilkenny; they're always ding-dong battles so we'll be trying to give up nothing,' said the Tipperary manager.
Next Saturday evening's floodlit Allianz Hurling League meeting between Tipperary and Kilkenny at Semple Stadium will be the second such meeting scheduled in recent times. However the first one in 2010 had to be scheduled three times.
Kilkenny, All-Ireland champions, were up against Tipperary (All-Ireland runners up) on Saturday February 20th under lights at Semple Stadium. However snow put paid to the game being played. The game was re-fixed for the following Tuesday February 23rd. Again the snow won. At the third time of asking, the game went ahead on March 7th with admission free. Tipperary won by 1-14 to 0-13. The game was one of many played in recent times that brought moments to remember.
Last Sunday's win over Clare was Tipp's third on the trot an achievement not secured since 2009. To claim victory against Kilkenny next Saturday night would bridge a gap of fourteen years since Tipp last won their four opening league games when Tipp accounted for Offaly, Limerick, Wexford and Derry. This is not to forget the 2008 season when Tipp went unbeaten losing one point in the draw against Clare at Cusack Park.
So far The Tipperary manager has deployed the majority of his panel and it's a panel that's getting stronger by the day. As a result last Sunday's game saw Barry Heffernan lining out at midfield joining newcomers such as Darren Mooney, Thomas Hamill, Donagh Maher and Joe O Dwyer continue to carry the can in defence. Both Aidan McCormack and Steven O'Brien gained another chance with O'Brien scoring three points to enhance his chances come next June.
'He's progressing well,' said Ryan. 'He'd be the first to admit it that he's not the finished article. He's at work there and he's enjoying it - you'd see it in his body language - getting him in progress but you could say that about any young fella. He'd been away from hurling for probably a little bit too long. There's improvement day in, day out but there's many more fella up in the field looking for that chance so it's game on,'
Other lesser known faces like Willie Ryan, Paul Flynn and Sean Curran were sprung from the bench with Flynn and Curran scoring. Their performances will gladly give Michael Ryan plenty headaches when it comes to pick his panel for the rest of the league and the championship.
'Yeah I would and I think the panel is the reason why we have gathered up these wins recently. They really do push each other, the training is really good and it's early days as well. They're very competitive. The wins we have gathered in the past few weeks have given us a bit of a cushion to try these guys. There's been other years here when you're trying to survive and need a win, and you don't get an opportunity to use your panel.
'There'll be plenty of opportunities and the biggest opportunities are here every day we meet for training, and that's the springboard. Barry Heffernan got in to play midfield last week and that's because of his work last week, that's a fact. The same with Aidan McCormack; Aidan would have been disappointed with his performance in Waterford, coming off but he had a super week since. He was just a little bit irresistible and we just said "in you go again"., That's just those guys, we have a cohort, we're carrying 41 here at the moment, a couple of injuries bring the numbers down .They are all screaming for chances so it's a good place to be,' remarked Ryan. .
Tipperary could be without six players to call on. Brendan Maher, Niall O'Meara, Donagh Maher left the scene last Sunday with injuries. They joined Kieran Bergin who had a quad problem which looked as if it could be okay but didn't come right for the game against Clare. That quarter join James Barry and Seamus Callanan who had a twenty four hour bug before the tussle with Clare.
 'We just have to wait and see. It didn't look nice on the sideline to be honest and we picked up two heavy knocks, one on Niall O'Meara and one on Donagh Maher. You hate to see that happen to the lads because they've clawed their way into a position to get jerseys here and if you're out for a few weeks you could lose the last two game of the league. But look, the panel will be delighted to get an opportunity if they're out!

 Football Re-Fixture
The postponed Allianz Football League between Tipperary and Longford - due to be played as a curtain raiser last Sunday will be played in Semple Stadium next Saturday evening throw in 5.00p.m.
With Armagh, Louth and Sligo winning last Sunday, Tipp will need a victory to stay in contention for promotion. As it stands, Louth are on top with 8 points. Armagh and Sligo have 5 and Tipp with four points. A win for Tipp would put them back in second place. However Longford will have a major say. They feel disappointed with the decision to postpone the game last Saturday and will use that frustration to enhance their chances.
It will be a busy week for Tipperary as their Under -21 side take on Limerick in the Munster quarter final at the Gaelic Grounds this Wednesday throw in 7.30p.m.

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