Former Kilkenny hurler Aidan ‘Taggy’ Fogarty was on The Saturday Panel and looked ahead to Sunday’s All-Ireland Hurling Final.
Fogarty was encouraged by the displays that the Cats put in against Cork and Limerick to make it to the final after Kilkenny lost twice in Leinster.
However, he felt that for his old side to triumph in Croke Park they will have to bring a huge amount of intensity to stop Tipp in their tracks.
“Kilkenny are going to have to bring this to a dogfight. So it’s really about the battle. If it opens up the Tipp forwards can really make the ball sing.
“They’re probably more free-flowing as a unit together. The Kilkenny forwards, I feel, are more battle-hardened.
“They’ll bring more of an intensity to it and they’ll have to stop the supply to the full-forward line. 2-21 they scored in that 2016 All-Ireland Final against Kilkenny. That cannot happen,” Fogarty said.
The Cats stunned Limerick last time out by putting up a big score against the reigning All-Ireland champions early on.
The Treaty never recovered from the early onslaught but the Emeralds man feels that Kilkenny will have to keep up the intensity for the whole game if they hope to beat Tipperary.
“Tipperary would have the experience. I felt that Limerick were knocked. It got into their heads a bit and they drove wides that they shouldn’t have done.
“It won’t happen to Tipperary because they have that tradition and they have that belief in themselves. 'Right, Kilkenny are on top, but we’re going to come.’ They have that belief in themselves to win it,” Fogarty commented.
The eight-time All-Ireland winner identified Noel McGrath as one of the key men that Kilkenny have to stop but also noted the incredible strength in depth that the Premier County possess.
“I think Conor Browne is going to have to man-mark Noel McGrath in midfield. He’s a good hurler. He’s an athlete and he’s very strong. He doesn’t care about the ball and Brian Cody has told him that.
"So I think he’ll go mark Noel McGrath when it gets tight. And McGrath was taken off in the Munster final.
"He could get hurler of the year probably if he plays well. What hurler of the year is taken off in the Munster final? I can’t remember [one],” Fogarty commented.
The final gets underway at the GAA Headquarters at 3.30pm in what’s promising to be an enticing clash.