Recently retired Dublin Hurler and Tipperary native Ryan O’Dwyer gives his thoughts on Saturday’s Trip To Tipp
Twelve months ago, Tipperary were top of the National Hurling League Division 1A Table. Dublin were sitting in fourth position after a League 1B run that contained only one victory in five. The sides couldn’t have been further apart. But that’s the draw of the Quarter Finals and you take what you’re dealt.
This time around, as these two sides get set to face each other again, the gap certainly feels like it’s been narrowed. Dublin atop of Division 1B and Tipperary securing the bottom qualifying slot in 1A.
But it’s Thurles, and Tipperary’s home. Should it make a difference? Not if you’re travelling with the right game plan. It’s the biggest test to date for Mattie Kenny as Dublin manager and there’s no doubt he’ll done his homework. He may have even had some advice from a former Tipperary native who spent many years serving Dublin in the blue jersey.
In last year’s Quarter Final, there are 0-11 between the sides at full time with Tipperary advancing to the last four. An improvement on 2017, when Dublin were handed a beating by 0-16 in Croke Park on the opening night of the League Campaign. A result the spelled the beginning of the end for then manager Ger Cunningham.
O’Dwyer know’s the strength of the Tipp Forward Line
Involved in a lot of these matches for many years Ryan O’Dwyer is well equipped to know what it feels like to be on the end of a high margin beating. But he’s also well schooled in his native county’s game. And he claims to know how to finally get a result, to make this Dublin’s best league campaign for many years.
“Whether playing Tipp in Croke Park or playing them in Thurles …Tipp have the forwards that can produce a massive amount of scores,” O’Dwyer admits to the Herald.
“Every one of those Tipperary forwards can score five or six points from play.”
“Most other teams in the country are relying on one or two score-getters and then the rest of them working around that and chipping in with a point or two.”
Up to last weekend, Tipp would probably have been the favoured draw at this point in the competition. But to go to Pairc Ui Rinn and put 1-29 past Cork shows that they could be peaking at the right time ahead of the Munster and All Ireland Championships.
Dublin have put in more than one solid performance this year so far, and have impressed the length of the park.
“So the backs are good.” he claims. “But they need to be supported by the forwards. You have to start your defence at number 15.”
“Tipp are full of confidence. They have Liam Sheedy back. There’s always a good vibe around with Sheedy. Everyone wants to impress him. Everyone wants to be part of it.”
“I’d be looking for two or three big performances from individuals. And to make sure that the team puts up a good score and fights until the end.