Tipperary Supporters Club

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Co. Tipperary

John Mullane: Tipperary need to close up their defence and stop conceding goals if they are to tackle Limerick

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Source: Independent.ie

They often say in the business world that you have to speculate to accumulate, but Liam Cahill will be mindful that taking risks against Limerick also comes with its own health warning.

You have to take a punt to beat the champions. Waterford weren’t prepared to take a couple of chances last weekend and they died wondering, but Tipperary won’t allow that to happen, and Cahill’s teams always have a go.

Clare were prepared to take chances when they pushed up on the Treaty three weeks ago – and they got their rewards – so that’s just the name of the game now and it’s nearly gone full circle.

If every Limerick player is held accountable for and you have two on two in your own full-back line with 40 yards of green grass in front of you, then so be it because you have to roll the dice.

Tipp must go and take that risk; you won’t know until you try. If you don’t take the chance and you stand off Limerick and try to play zonal, they’ll just pick you off like they destroyed Cork in the 2021 All-Ireland final.

I’m nearly convinced that you need to go man-on-man, or they’ll just find those triangle passes and pick out lads before beating you from out the pitch. However, there is a line between bravery and stupidity and Cahill knows that.

A feature of any team which Cahill (right) and Mikey Bevans are involved in is that they love goals, there is no denying that. But he will be doing everything possible to make sure that he doesn’t concede any at the other end.

Clare hit Tipp for three goals, and it easily could have been more, while Cork sliced them open at the back and could have had an extra few green flags to add to the four that they did tally.

Tipp will need to take some chances, but they can’t leave the Red Sea opening in their defence that the Rebels went through easily. I can’t see them playing a sweeper either, it’s just not Cahill’s style, or Tipp’s style, so finding the balance is key.

If Tipp can raise a couple of green flags (they have seven in their last two games, but they’ve also conceded the same amount), it will make life so much easier, and the task mightn’t be as tough as it normally is against Limerick.

The absence of Seán Finn, the best corner-back in the country, should make them more vulnerable and it will be fascinating to see how they cope without their Mr Dependable in the last line of defence.

While Jason Forde will be a massive loss to Tipp. Having Séamus Callanan back is a big addition to their forward division with the likelihood that he’ll be held in reserve for a big fourth quarter when it’s badly needed. It would be unimaginable to think that the four-in-a-row chasing Limerick could be gone out of the championship before secondary schools break for their summer holidays but that’s the glorious opportunity that is in Tipp’s hands tomorrow. They will throw everything at this game knowing what the potential consequences could mean an exit for the green machine while they will also be aware that they have the fallback of playing Waterford next week and finishing on five points.

Overcoming a wounded Limerick will be a big ask and the elephant in the room is whether the Premier can go toe-to-toe with John Kiely’s men and still land punches in the final minutes.

History shows that they have the ammunition to hurt Limerick at different stages, but it will take more than a half to get the job done. An insatiable work ethic is needed, and they’ll need a big bounce from the bench.

Alan Tynan and Noel McGrath complement each other beautifully around the middle of the park with Tynan providing the energy, and an eye for the posts, while McGrath finds pockets of space that few others can.

The clash of Tynan and Will O’Donoghue will be box-office given their scrap before the throw-in of the league semi-final – which resulted in O’Donoghue being suspended for the final – so expect sparks to fly.

As well as being home soil, Thurles will also suit Tipp as it doesn’t play as wide or as long as Croke Park and Páirc Uí Chaoimh, but you would be a fool to write Limerick off.

Some are saying Limerick are like the veteran boxer back against the ropes just waiting for someone to knock them over, but there’s more than a few haymakers left in them yet and they’ll be sure to have their mojo back.

Victory tomorrow will further prove why they are an incredible generational side while the nervy minutes beforehand will be fascinating as the meeting of Clare and Cork in Ennis has huge ramifications for the Treaty County.

If they hear the Banner have prevailed, they will be easier in their own minds as there’s less pressure, but if the Rebels win, expect the result to blare out over the loudspeaker in Semple Stadium to further ramp up the pressure on the visitors.

The Cusack Park clash is a hard one to call but if Clare find something close to the form that they did against Limerick, that should be just enough to book another Munster final place for Brian Lohan’s men.

I can’t sign-off this week without mentioning the two U-20 finals earlier this week. Fair dues to the four teams involved for serving up an absolute feast and it’s just such an enjoyable grade to watch.

We’re always on about lads going out and expressing themselves, and maybe seniors are restricted in doing that as they are overburdened with tactics whereas underage is the purest form of hurling.

They were two unbelievable advertisements for our games and the scenes in Carlow were magic as the wheel continues to turn in Offaly.

That should be a cracker of a final against Cork as the hurling really heats up on every front.

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