The term ‘lions den’ is much used in sporting parlance when it comes to describing the home venue into which a side must face with the potential for a mauling on the cards.
It has been widely used this week to describe Tipperary’s visit to Nowlan Park on Sunday afternoon next for the opening round of the Allianz National Hurling League campaign against All-Ireland champions Kilkenny – memories of the Premier’s last league outing in the Marble City will do nothing to inspire confidence with Brian Cody’s men having handed a severe lesson to a Tipp side which went on to lock horns with them again in the League Final later that season.
Yes, the Cats have been sharpening their claws in advance of this one with the top two teams in the country squaring up to one another. Tipp and Kilkenny have both stretched their legs in the Waterford Crystal and Walsh Cup campaigns respectively, but with all due respect to both competitions, the league is a significant step up in status with a lot more riding on the result. The formation of the league this year leaves little room for error – get off to a bad start and a team could struggle. But, firm underfoot by way of a winning commencement would give much cause for optimism as the grass begins to grow and the spring sunshine emerges.
See this week’s Tipperary Star for more on this story