Dubs and Premier County Face off In All Ireland Semi’s

11 Aug

By Paul Walsh

GAA Correspondent

Follow him on twitter @walshpots

Whatever happens on Sunday, it has been a historic season for the Dublin hurling team. They won their first national title since 1938 and they are appearing in their first All Ireland semi final since 1948.

The progress they have made has delighted both Dubs and neutrals alike, as their aggressive and hard working style has marked them out as an emerging force in hurling. The Leinster Final defeat to Kilkenny was the one blot on their copybook and it perhaps indicated that they are not quite ready to sit at the table of the hurling elites just yet.

Dublin did not perform in the Leinster Final and one senses they would relish a chance to face Kilkenny again, this time in an All Ireland Final, which could redeem their reputation. Standing in their way is a significant obstacle in the shape of reigning All Ireland champions Tipperary. They have impressed on their journey to Croke Park, dispatching Cork, Clare and Waterford with varying levels of ease. Their goal blitz in the Munster Final against Waterford is surely a performance that has been keeping Anthony Daly up nights, as he attempts to plot a course past the Premier County.

Dublin’s cause has not been helped by a spate of injuries. It has now been confirmed that David Treacy will miss Sunday’s game after sustaining a hamstring tear in training over the weekend. He joins the long list of Dublin players in sick bay, which includes Stephen Hiney, Tomás Brady, Conal Keaney and Oisin Gough. Dublin does not have the strength in their panel that Kilkenny or Tipperary have and will find it hard to absorb these losses.

Declan Ryan in contrast has an almost full strength panel to choose from. Seamus Hennessey is their only injury. I expect Tipperary to test the Dublin full back line early and go for goals. The Dublin full back line has had a mixed championship, largely due to injuries to key players. Peter Kelly impressed against Limerick but the full back line will be under sever pressure this Sunday, when they face off against Lar Corbett, Eoin Kelly and John O’Brien. Dublin needs to weather the early onslaught and gain a foothold in the game to have any chance. Ryan O’Dwyer the hat-trick hero from Thurles, will be a key man for Dublin. If he get good ball he can do damage to his native county.

I have to agree with the bookmakers on this occasion and I expect to see Dublin’s odyssey come to a shuddering halt this weekend. The injuries to key players and the quality of the opposition will be the decisive factors. Dublin will put up a battling performance but I expect Tipperary to win by at least 4 points. Tipperary has the ultimate motivation, as the Cats wait for them in the final. If they can defeat the Dubs, a mouth watering final lies ahead in September, as the Federer and Nadal of hurling are on course to meet again.

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