With Tipperary looking to end a six-year wait for an All-Ireland Hurling title on Sunday, that greater hunger might see them steal the cream from right under the noses of Kilkenny’s Cats.
Amazingly, with Kilkenny in the hunt for yet another three-in-a-row under manager Brian Cody, both teams are absolutely deadlocked in the win market.
The loss of Kilkenny’s midfield powerhouse Michael Fennelly may just be the ‘Tipping’ point coming into Sunday’s final.
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Fennelly put in dominant displays in both tussles with Waterford before unfortunately pulling up with an Achilles injury that sees him miss the rest of the season.
His absence will probably force Cody to sacrifice TJ Reid or Richie Hogan from a firing forward line in an attempt to lock up a settled Tipperary midfield and that just might swing the final Tipp’s way.
The stats however don’t lie and the hard truth is Tipperary’s recent Championship record against the Cats is abysmal.
Since 2002 the sides have met nine times and the Premier County have only scored one solitary victory in that period – their All-Ireland win in 2010 which halted Kilkenny’s ‘drive for five’.
With both sides just squeezing out semi-final victories – Kilkenny in a replay over a battling Déise and Tipperary claiming a single point win over Galway – the draw at might just be the right way to go.
After all, the last time the two sides met in the 2014 All-Ireland final there was no separating them on the day. Although Tipp fans are still cursing Hawkeye for ruling out a last second free from John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer and Kilkenny were worthy three-point winners of the replay three weeks later.
Man of the Match
An integral part of All-Ireland final day for hurling fans is the post-game pint-fuelled arguments over who’ll be named Man of the Match from the team hotel on The Sunday Game after 10pm.
All the heavy hitters are up there of course – Richie Hogan, Seamus Callanan, TJ Reid and Bubbles Dwyer – but sometimes a heroes can come from left field on the sport’s biggest day.
So if you’re looking for value in that market Kilkenny’s Walter Walsh has been quietly having an excellent season and Kilkenny wouldn’t have even been in position to win this All-Ireland had he not picked off a late goal in first game with Waterford.
The huge Tullogher-Rosbercon clubman is a whopping to claim the honour. On the Tipp side John McGrath may just be the man at – don’t forget the forward belted 3-2 against Waterford in the Munster final.
Waving the green flag
It’s very hard to look past the usual suspects when it comes to the first goalscorer and the initial name that springs to mind is Tipperary’s Seamus Callanan.
Brian Cody will be praying his defence can shackle Callanan has firmly as that cap is wedged onto his beautiful bald head, but is hard price to turn down for Seamus to raise the first green flag.
On the flip side, if you are edging Kilkenny’s way for the opening goal, Colin Fennelly might just be your man at – especially after his two-minute brace against Waterford last time out.
There is however a massive outside bet to consider that statically seems to add up and that is the fact that there might not be a goalscorer in the final at all.
Kilkenny have kept three clean sheets in their four Championship games to date, while Tipperary shut out the opposition twice and only given up a miserly average of 17.25 points per game.
You can get ‘no goalscorer’ at a huge and it might be worth grabbing with both hands.
With hurling’s richest prize and neighbourly bragging rights on the line, Sunday’s contest might just provide the classic people are all hoping for.