Tipperary senior hurling manager Liam Sheedy, captain Séamus Callanan and vice-captain Noel McGrath. Picture: Sportsfile
Tipperary and Kilkenny collide in the fourth round of the Allianz National Hurling League on Sunday, February 24 at Semple Stadium, Thurles (throw-in 2pm) with a place in the quarter-finals of the competition on the line.
Following the clash with Brian Cody's men the Premier County will travel to face Cork in the final round of group games and with just two points gathered thus far in division 1A if Liam Sheedy and his hurling men wish to qualify for the quarter-finals a win is required on Sunday.
It's simple: the winner of this weekend's contest is very likely to qualify for the quarter-finals while the loser is much less likely.
Tipperary and Kilkenny enter the contest having lost their last two successive games. The Premier County most recently lost by a point to Wexford (1-14 to 1-15), but the outfit managed by Brian Cody represent a wounded animal this week having suffered a nine-point defeat at home to Limerick on Sunday last (0-15 to 2-18) - Kilkenny's heaviest at Nowlan Park since 1997.
During the Brian Cody era Kilkenny have played 153 league games (Tipperary 157) with the Cats winning 106 times (Tipperary 92) while registering a 69% win rate (Tipperary 59%).
Kilkenny have lost 42 games in total (Tipperary 50), but, crucially, under Brian Cody the Cats are renowned for fighting to the bitter end and have only lost by six points or more in the league ten times (Tipperary: 18).
So, it is likely that Brian Cody will expect a reaction from his players this week. And, who better to seek such a reaction against than Tipp?
During the Brian Cody era Tipperary and Kilkenny have met 25 times in the league with Kilkenny winning 16 times (Tipperary seven, two draws). Indeed, during those 16 wins the Cats have beaten Tipp by five points or more on 11 occasions. Most recently Kilkenny saw off Tipperary by six points (2-23 to 2-17) in the 2018 league final.
The last time Tipperary beat Kilkenny in the league was 2015 (2-22 to 1-13).
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