Tipperary will be wary of a backlash from Clare when they travel to Cusack Park in Ennis on Sunday for the third round of Division 1A of the
National Hurling League, writes Eamonn Wynne.
The Banner have lost their opening matches against Galway and Cork and another defeat would probably consign them to a relegation final.
Tipperary, meanwhile, will be looking to build on their win over Galway a fortnight ago, which followed a heavy defeat by Dublin in their opening game.
Tipp showed a lot more spirit and determination against Galway than they had in that game at Parnell Park the previous weekend and they dug deep to withstand a late rally from the Tribesmen and collect their first points of the campaign.
They had a break from league action last weekend but several fringe players had an opportunity to show what they’re capable of when they drew with Waterford in a challenge in Clonmel. Kilsheelan’s Bill Maher was one of their best, operating between midfield and the half forward line and scoring three points from play.
Loughmore’s John Meagher had a fine game at centre back, although he retired through injury late in the game when he was replaced by Ronan Maher.
The game also marked a return to the starting fifteen for the first time since last year’s All-Ireland Final replay for James Barry, following his hip operation. Other familiar faces in the line-up included Noel McGrath, who was top scorer with 7 points; Conor O’Mahony, Michael Breen, Gearoid Ryan, Thomas Stapleton, Niall O’Meara, Shane Bourke and Conor O’Brien, who replaced James Barry.
Despite their early season difficulties Colm Galvin, Colin Ryan and Conor Cleary have been in good form for Clare. Manager Davy Fitzgerald is sure they have them pumped up for such a vital match and Tipperary will be in for a testing 70 minutes.
The throw-in on Sunday is at 2pm. Offaly’s Brian Gavin is the referee and the match will be shown live on TG4.