Caution is the buzzword among the Tipperary management and players ahead of Sunday’s All-Ireland Hurling Semi-Final against Dublin, a match that, according to the bookies, is a foregone conclusion.
Holders Tipperary are 16/1-on to reach their third successive All-Ireland Final against Kilkenny, while Dublin are a 9/1 chance to qualify for their first final since 1961. The draw is available at 20/1.
Tipp are scorching-hot favourites on the back of last season’s All-Ireland triumph and a successful Munster Championship campaign that concluded with the seven-goals destruction of Waterford in the final five weeks ago.
However manager Declan Ryan says that the Munster Final is in the past now and he’s taking nothing for granted, as he predicts a tough battle for whoever wins on Sunday.
Meanwhile team captain Eoin Kelly, Tipperary’s all-time leading scorer in championship history with a total of 21 goals and 342 points in 52 championship appearances, has warned his team mates that they must be ready for Dublin.
”This group knows that Waterford didn’t come to the table that day (the Munster Final) and we’re expecting a totally different challenge against Dublin, and we have to be prepared for that”, he says.
The teams last met in the championship in an All-Ireland qualifier at Parnell Park four years ago, a match that Tipp won by 1-20 to 1-11. Their team that day included Ryan O’Dwyer, but on Sunday the Cashel man will line out for his adopted Dublin, for whom he scored 3-2 in their quarter-final defeat of Limerick.
The clash of the All-Ireland champions and National League champions starts at 3.30. The referee at Croke Park will be Cork’s Cathal McAllister.
The curtain-raiser at 1.30 is the All-Ireland Minor Hurling Semi-Final between Waterford and Dublin.