Jason Forde features on Tipperary team to face Galway in league final

Brian McDonnell

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Brian McDonnell

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bmcdonnell@tipperarystar.ie

Jason Forde features on Tipperary team to face Galway in league final

The Tipperary senior hurling management team.

Jason Forde has been named on the Tipperary team to face Galway in Sunday’s Allianz National Hurling League final at Páirc na nGael, Limerick (throw-in 3.30pm) while Michael Breen and John O’Dwyer will also start against the Tribesmen in place of Niall O’Meara and Séamus Callanan.

The Tipperary team will line out a follows: Darren Gleeson (Portroe), Cathal Barrett (Holycross-Ballycahill), James Barry (Upperchurch-Drombane), Michael Cahill (Thurles Sarsfields), Séamus Kennedy (St Mary’s Clonmel), Ronan Maher (Thurles Sarsfields), Pádraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields, captain), Brendan Maher (Borris-Ileigh), Jason Forde (Silvermines), Dan McCormack (Borris-Ileigh), Michael Breen (Ballina), Steven O'Brien (Ballina), Noel McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney), John O'Dwyer (Killenaule) & John McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney).

It was revealed this week that Silvermines star Jason Forde was handed a proposed two
-match ban following his clash with Wexford manager David Fitzgerald during last Sunday’s Allianz Hurling League semi-final. Tipperary, however, have not accepted the proposed penalty and are expected to challenge the decision made by the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC).

This week Wexford manager David Fitzgerald was presented with an eight-week ban following his incursion onto the field of play during last weekend’s league semi-final.

Tipperary will make no public comment on the issue until after the league final.

GALWAY

Tipperary have reached the league final as reigning All-Ireland champions for the first time since 1992 and now face the Tribesmen who are seeking their tenth league title (first since 2010).

And, Galway, of course, also have a bone to pick with Tipperary - the side managed by Micheál Donoghue has every reason to believe that the 2016 All-Ireland semi-final was their’s for the taking (2-19 to 2-18). Indeed, Michael Ryan holds Galway in high regard and is fully aware that only for Pádraic Maher’s hook, a moment of magic from John O’Dwyer and a key tactical switch, which saw John McGrath moved to full-forward, Tipperary could well have missed out on last September’s All-Ireland title.

“I really rate them - you just look back over the times that we have met during the last couple of years: we had a one-point loss (championship 2015), a draw in the early rounds of the league last year and a one-point win late on in the championship last year; that’s our most recent three-game history. So, there will be absolutely nothing in this. They are a very fine side and I would rate them as being one of the best in the country,” Michael Ryan explained to the Tipperary Star this week.

Galway have lost six All-Ireland finals since their last success (1989), but during the intervening years the Tribesmen have won six under-21 and nine minor All-Ireland titles.

Galway have been criticised, often unfairly, for their failure to realise their potential, but it could also be the case that Micheál Donoghue’s men have turned a significant corner since the Clarinbridge man was appointed.

Galway beat the Shannonsiders 1-21 to 1-11 at Páirc na nGael, Limerick on Sunday in their respective league semi-final with Conor Cooney notching the key goal. David Burke, as you would expect, is in terrific form for the Tribesmen while Joe Canning has a real edge to his game the moment. And, when you add players like Aidan Harte and Conor Whelan to the mix you soon realise how formidable Galway are. And, of course, Lukasz Kirszenstein, Tipperary’s 2016 All-Ireland winning strength and conditioning coach, is now working alongside manager Micheál Donoghue to prepare the Galway squad for battle.

OUT-WORKED

Since his appointment as manager of Tipperary Michael Ryan has regularly emphasised his determination to build a hard-working identity for the senior hurling team. And, true to his word the Tipperary players have established a significant reputation for themselves in that regard.

Against Galway in 2016, however, the 2-19 to 2-18 scoreline hid some significant numbers: that day in Croke Park the Tribesmen got the better of Tipperary in the key work rate stats (tackle count, hooks and blocks). And, the prevailing pattern of that contest did not go unnoticed by Michael Ryan.

“And, they did the very same the year before,” Michael Ryan revealed.

“So, this is game on. It’s tremendous data and it is undeniable. Last year when we had a one-point win against them they had won the vital areas of performance in the match. We just find Galway to be very worthy adversaries. We find them a difficult team to play and a difficult team to beat. And, they are quite similar to us in that they work really, really hard and they are very mobile and they are good hurlers. So, look, I think this is very much a fifty-fifty contest,” the Upperchurch-Drombane man added.

“They came at us with a really, really good game plan last year. We were put to the pin of our collar - we really were. And, again, it took a couple of moments of magic to get us through,” Michael Ryan said before revealing that his players were looking forward to the challenge posed by Galway in next Sunday’s league final.

“This is just a fantastic challenge for us, again. You could not write away for it - to have this calibre of game to come so quickly after a really good game with Wexford. So, we have been spoiled - that’s the way that I would view it. We have come through a really good league this year. We have never played the same team twice and we have, literally, played every one of them,” Michael Ryan explained.

“Our players simply love the challenge. We will get around to talking about what’s next after this final, but for the week that’s in it our only agenda is to try and take on that challenge against Galway, try to beat them and try to deliver the league title,” Michael Ryan said.

“The players are very much looking forward to it - we have loads to improve on. Recent history would indicate that it’s two very finely-matched teams and, if anything, given the stats and the kind of raw data that we measure and the work rate that we value so much, these guys have trumped us the last two times that we have met in games of consequence.”

Tipperary travel to Limerick on Sunday next searching for a 20th league title - the Premier County last won the league in 2008 when seeing off Galway in the decider (3-18 to 3-16). Sunday represents the tenth league final between the sides - as matters stand Galway hold a five-four edge.

FIXTURE

Sunday, April 23rd
Allianz National Hurling League Final
Tipperary v Galway
in Páirc na nGael, Limerick @ 3.30pm

The final will be preceded by the Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League Division 1 decider between Cork and Kilkenny (1.30pm).