FORMER TIPPERARY BOSS Michael Ryan says his county has a strong record of dealing with the style of hurling that Wexford play, saying ‘there’s nothing new there we haven’t seen before.’

Former Tipperary boss Michael Ryan.

Source: Sam Barnes/SPORTSFILE

The sides will square off in the All-Ireland semi-final on Sunday where Wexford are looking to book a spot in their first All-Ireland decider since their last triumph in 1996.

Davy Fitzgerald’s side come into this game as Leinster champions after edging out Kilkenny to end a 15-year drought for provincial success.

Remarking on the kind of battle Wexford will bring to Croke Park, Ryan has noticed a few changes in their game that have delivered big results for them so far.

“If you look at what’s different to Wexford this year than any other year I just think they’re playing really well as a unit. They still employ the sweeper, I think it’s very smart.

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“For me looking at them, the S&C two and three years really looks to have kicked in for those Wexford guys.

“They looked huge men for me in that Leinster final and they were winning the vast majority of the physical battles, they were right up there with Kilkenny who you’d always associate with winning physical battles. 

It’s a bit like saving the best wine for last, I think their Leinster final performance was their best of the championship so far. It was a cracking game, right down to the wire, and those are the types of games that really develop character in the team.”

Ryan went on to say that Tipperary’s record of facing Wexford’s style of hurling is “quite good” but stressed that their history in this department won’t determine the outcome of Sunday’s showdown.

Wexford joint captains Matthew O’Hanlon and Lee Chin after their Leinster final triumph.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

He added that Liam Sheedy’s men will need a huge performance to book their place in the All-Ireland final and pleaded with Premier County supporters to make the trip to Croke Park.

I think it’ll be tactical, they’ll still play with their tried and trusted system. We in Tipp have come up against that system time and time again. There’s nothing new there we haven’t seen before. And our record of dealing with that is actually quite good.

“That in itself isn’t something that isn’t going to have a huge bearing on the game. From a Tipp perspective, we will need our absolute best performance to get a result on Sunday.

“There’s a lot more momentum with Wexford right now. It’s very, very hard to call it. It’s advantage Wexford in terms what they’ve achieved this year in terms of winning a Leinster final.

I think on Sunday Wexford could possibly fill the stadium on their own. I know that’s a cliche but I just think you’ll get a huge support coming from Wexford and I hope Tipp travel because I think they need to get behind this team, this team need support right now.”

Tipperary overcame Laois to reach this stage of the championship, but they were made to sweat for their victory in Croke Park as Eddie Brennan’s charges battled bravely despite playing with only 14 men for most of the second half.

Ryan laments that Tipperary’s performance against the Joe McDonagh Cup champions is a “concern” heading into the semi-final but notes that they can draw positives from their 10-point win as well.

Laois gave Tipperary a great battle in the All-Ireland quarter-final.

Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

“It was a banana skin, it was negotiated, it was won and you could argue that Tipp are actually coming into this game very much under the radar, and they are very much under the radar.

“They’re into the last four, the prize is absolutely massive – to go into the All-Ireland final and it all hinges on one huge game. But every game at this stage is a huge game.”

Michael Ryan was at the launch of the EirGrid Official Timing Sponsorship Launch.  Eirgrid, the official timing partner to the GAA, works closely with communities around Ireland every day and the organisation wants to ensure that these communities have a chance to benefit because of their partnership with the GAA.

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