Ever since the final whistle blew in Tipperary’s extraordinary quarter-final victory over Galway, a lot of breath has been consumed in debating the potential outcomes of this semi-final.
Much of the debate has centred on how much Tipperary have improved/recovered from their first-round capitulation at the hands of Cork. There is no doubt that the Premier men have yet to reach the level that they did last September when they pushed Kilkenny almost all the way in an absorbing All-Ireland decider, but whether Waterford can match where Tipperary are is open to debate.
Déise manager Davy Fitzgerald will be quite pleased that despite winning a fourth Munster title in a decade there is very little talk and even less hype about his team. In previous years, the media and the public alike were waiting to add the Liam McCarthy Cup to provincial honours but on this occasion it looks as if the lessons of 2008 have been heeded. It does help when you are playing in the second semi-final as there is only a seven-day lead-up, whereas Cork and Kilkenny had a fortnight’s coverage in the media before last Sunday’s match.
It is highly unlikely that either manager is going to change his side too much for this encounter – a repeat of last year’s Munster final and the ’08 All-Ireland semi – as if anything, wholesale changes would be akin to changing your horse mid-stream. Maybe more importantly it would also be an admission of previous mistakes which as we all know is not something that inter-county managers are very partial to.
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