AT a time when Tipperary’s senior team is crying out for ball-winners and a real physical presence in attack, the county’s intermediate hurlers could show them how it’s done against Cork in next Friday evening’s provincial final at Semple Stadium.
One of the real strong points about this Tipperary intermediate team is the ability to win primary possession up front.
Upperchurch-Drombane player Pat Shortt has recovered from injury and Éire Óg Annacarty’s Brian Fox has linked up with the panel following Tipp’s exit from the All-Ireland senior football championship.
Carrick Swan player Danny O’Hanlon and Thomas Butler (Clonoulty-Rossmore) are also back from injury and are set to start in attack.
Ryan admitted: “They’re two huge men in the forward line. Another man that we had in but is out through injury is Paddy Murphy (Éire Óg Nenagh). He was going to be on our squad and people seem to be crying out for that kind of player. They’re also skilful players and great hurlers. It’s a good plus for any team to have lads who can stand under a ball and contest it.”
Tipp are going in search of a ninth Munster intermediate title but curiously, back-to-back crowns have never been won.
But while Tipp are reigning provincial and All-Ireland champions, Ryan noted Cork’s hugely impressive victory over Clare.
He added: “We were lucky enough to beat Clare in Nenagh last year by four points and they had the same kind of outfit this year but Cork blew them away in the semi-final.
“We have a hugely different task than against Limerick. Cork are a big physical team, play direct hurling and no frills. What they do, they do it well. We’ll probably go in as underdogs but that will suit us. We are really up for it, very focused and looking forward to it.
“It’s two days after the U21s play but hopefully we’ll get a good game on”.