The View: What the Tipperary hurlers need to do on Sunday.

Noel Dundon


Noel Dundon


Michael Cahill

Tipperary defender Michael Cahill - if fit, he should come back into the defence.

Tipperary supporters are expecting a big reaction from their players on Sunday - that means a win against Cork.

Tipperary supporters travelling into Semple Stadium on Sunday afternoon next are demanding a reaction from their players. With the squad in for training tonight (Friday) and the team to be announced, there is much talk around the county of what the format will be. Aside from the referendum, this is the big talking point on everybody's lips in The Premier County. 

Without doubt Limerick were full value for their victory in Sunday's Munster Senior Hurling Championship first round tie at Pairc na nGael. And, truth be known they should have won by more.

John Kiely's men were primed for victory and they brought a level of intensity, physicality and energy to the game that Tipperary could only match in patches. Worryingly, this was also Tipperary's downfall in the Allianz National Hurling League final against Kilkenny. The Cats turned the screw in the second half with Tipperary having held a two-point interval lead. And, no sooner had the second half commenced than Tipp were on the backfoot – as was the picture painted again on Sunday last.
Not only did Limerick start the second half the better, they also finished with a flurry when bagging 1-5 of the last 1-6 on offer to claim a victory which really meant something to their supporters.
Indeed, it was telling to see their supporters dancing for joy in the rain after the final whistle had sounded.
This victory really meant something to Limerick.

Bonner Maher makes the Tipperary attack tick - will he get a start on Sunday?

What does the defeat mean for Tipperary? Well, there are two ways this can go now. Beat Cork next Sunday with the same format and we're back on track. Lose to Cork next Sunday with the same format and that will, more or less, be that.
So, what to do? Should the Tipp management be bold and try something radical? Or, should they trust their process and stick with the plan? It's a very difficult call and there are a few hard decisions to be taken.
It seems entirely likely now that Seamus Callanan, Brendan Maher and Patrick Maher will have to start, if they are fit - there can be no looking any further than Sunday at this stage. It's make or break, knock-out hurling now.
Perhaps Michael Breen's energy could be utilised in and around midfield - a bit of drive was missing and there was little to compliment Billy McCarthy's hard work and endeavour.

Defensively, Tipperary have issues to sort out.
Surely Cathal Barrett and Michael Cahill must return to the full-back line, if they are fit? If one, or both, are not fit, further reshuffling of the decks is required.
With Padraic Maher playing at the heart of the defence, it has become too easy to keep him out of the game - a running centre-forward who roams the expanses means that he is caught between the two minds of following or protecting the centre. His influence in seasons past, which was very evident at number seven, is lost at number six, when teams are not banging balls down on top of him. And, who is going to do that at this stage?
Ronan Maher finished very strong on Sunday and by switching him to centre-back, it could have a double whammy affect - forcing teams to a different approach at centre-forward, and allowing Padraic to sweep across the line as he is brilliant at. Perhaps too, Brendan Maher is required in the half back line to make this the platform from which to build success.
Seamus Kennedy, at full-back, deserves a second chance - he had struggled to find form at half back and midfield in the league remember.

It's also quite clear that more is required from the attack, when it comes to defence. Noel McGrath, Sean Curran and Dan McCormack played quite deep in the Limerick game and this had the effect to leaving their markers in acres of space. When these Limerick men got onto ball they were able to look up and angle their deliveries into their sharpshooters - that hurt Tipp.
By trying to protect midfield and the half-back line with this sitting deep tactic, Tipperary actually played into Limericks hands.
The best way to defend is to attack. So, push right up, force defenders to clear under pressure and give the inside forwards a chance to win ball.
Cearly, there needs to be more resistence from the attackers who must become defenders once the opposition have possession.
This is currently not happening on all fronts and if there is a punctured wheel, the machine cannot operate effectively and efficiently.Another problem with playing deep is that the half forwards find it very hard to get on the shoulder of the full-forwards to assist with 'second phase' play. Therefore, off-the-shoulder help is arriving much too late and chances are being coughed up.
Driving the ball long into attack is often the preferred option it seems - some of the puck-outs have reached almost into the opposite 21-yard line - but there is little by way of ball winning emerging from a Tipp perspective.
Other routes and methods must be found to give the forwards the maximum chance of getting onto quality ball.
Unlocking the potential of the gifted Tipperary attackers is a real challenge now, and one that we are losing at the present time.Despite the above issues, all is not lost.
Considering the nature of the visit to Limerick, Tipp would surely have factored an opening defeat into their thoughts and plans and will have a plan B in the folder. However, it happens or plays out, that plan B must now feature a result next Sunday.
Michael Ryan told media ahead of the Limerick game, that this Munster campaign will go right down to the wire. For Tipperary's sake, it now needs to.