FORMER KILKENNY STAR Henry Shefflin has compared the strength in depth of the Tipperary hurlers to the all-conquering Dublin footballers.
The ten-time All-Ireland winner, speaking on RTÉ’s Allianz League Sunday, believes that the Premier County are hellbent on retaining the Liam MacCarthy Cup this year, and winning back-to-back crowns for the first time since the 1964/65.
Tipp are off a flyer in Division 1A of the Allianz Hurling League, as they chase a first competition win since 2008.
And even without marquee forward Seamus Callanan on Sunday, the hosts racked up 28 points and won by seven against Clare at Semple Stadium.
.@HenryShefflin on Tipperary’s focus in 2017 and their enviable strength in depth #RTESport #AllianzLeagueSundays pic.twitter.com/ABG8FTOX6E
— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) March 5, 2017
Source: RTÉ Sport/Twitter
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Shefflin said: “That started last September, they were talking about next year already at an early stage.
“They’ve learned an awful lot of lessons from the last time this happened (2010).
“We were looking at the Dublin footballers in the previous part of the show and Tipp remind me of that, their strength in depth.
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With All-Star full-back James Barry ruled out through illness, Tomás Hamill (pictured) slotted in seamlessly against Clare.
Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO
“No ‘Bonner’ Maher, Seamus Callanan, James Barry, Darren Gleeson, the players they can bring in, they’re building a massive panel.
“They’re the highest scoring team in the division, averaging 25 points per game and they have oceans of talented players.
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They’re very focused, the experience (of 2010), which is seven years ago at this stage, is definitely standing to them. They really have set out a stall, they do want to make a mark this year and try to do back-to-back.
“They’ve started the year very well and it makes for a very interesting game next weekend.”
Tipperary welcome Kilkenny to Semple Stadium next Saturday evening (7pm) for the first competitive meeting between the counties since last year’s All-Ireland final.
And former Clare and Dublin manager Anthony Daly says that Tipp’s strength in depth is reaching “scary” levels.
“They have an awful lot of options. To be in Walsh Park (against Waterford) a couple of weeks ago and see the five players they brought on, regulars, and leave Ronan Maher sitting down, that’s scary for everyone else. It’s getting scary, the depth that is there.”
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