Hurling

'Anything could be going on with Tipperary's back six’ | Jackie Tyrrell

Ryan Clarke
Ryan Clarke

02:39 14 Aug 2019

The build-up to an All-Ireland final is something that Jackie Tyrrell could probably do with his eyes closed after taking part in so many of them.

Speaking to OTB AM on Wednesday morning, Tyrrell previewed the potential match-ups that could decide where the Liam McCarthy Cup will reside for the next 12 months.

The battle between Seamus Callanan and Huw Lawlor will provide compelling viewing and will be one of the key battles in the game.

However, Callanan will suit how Lawlor plays the game according to Jackie Tyrrell. 

“Seamus Callanan would suit Huw Lawlor from a physical point of view.

“Huw is really, really strong in the air. He struggled on Patrick Horgan and Aaron Gillane because they’re smaller and nackier,” he said.

Despite struggling in the first half against Limerick, Lawlor showed his resilience to reassert himself in the second half.

“What I really like about him is that in the first half against Limerick was when he was struggling he bounced back.

“In the second half, he just ate [Aaron Gillane] up. He was so calm, he never got rattled and this is one Aaron Gillane - one of the top forwards in the game.

“The fundamentals of a full-back and you talk to JJ Delaney and Noel Hickey, is being strong in the air and Huw Lawlor has that in abundance,” Tyrrell said.

Unpredictable nature

Whilst it may be obvious to say the game will come down to which back six is able to cope with the opposition’s firepower upfront, Tyrrell explains this is complicated by Tipperary’s unpredictable nature.

“I would think that the Kilkenny back six are fairly settled, they know their roles and have brought a consistent level.

“I look at the Tipperary back six and there could be anything going on there. 

“I don’t mean that in a bad way, I mean in regards to personnel because that was probably dictated by playing Wexford.

“I would expect Liam Sheedy to revert to type and have Colin Fennelly as 14, an old-style full forward and roll the dice with James Barry,” the nine-time All-Ireland winner said.

As Kilkenny are a more traditional team in terms of how they set up, Tyrrell discussed why Sheedy may opt for James Barry over Barry Heffernan against the Cats.

“Barry Heffernan is very athletic, very good on the ball, very good at breaking the tackle and being a supporting runner which Tipperary were going to have to do because you can’t puck the ball in against as sweeper.

“James Barry, as you saw against Limerick, isn’t as comfortable coming out with the ball.

"He got caught for a goal. He’s an old-style fullback who likes to sit on the square and go man-to-man.”

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All-ireland Final GAA Hurling Jackie Tyrrell Kilkenny Tipperary

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