DJ Carey expects a nervous clash when Kilkenny meet Tipperary in the All-Ireland Hurling Qualifier Phase Two clash at Nowlan Park on Saturday.
Kilkenny and Tipperary were dumped out of their provincial championships by Dublin and Limerick respectively, and for one side their chance at claiming All-Ireland glory will end on Saturday night.
The five-time All-Ireland winner believes Kilkenny will take the verdict on the night but reckons the prospect of going out so early will mean nerves dominate in the stands and on the pitch on Saturday night.
Kilkenny go into the match without some key men and must overcome the mental blow of their Leinster defeat to Dublin in a replay.
Speaking to RTÉ’s Championship Matters, Carey said: “Kilkenny are on a bit of a downer. We are struggling with injuries and that’s the big thing. Having said that, give Dublin credit for being a very good team, they are one of the top teams in the country.”
“Limerick beat Tipperary (in Munster) so both sets of supporters and teams will be at their most nervous ever. It’s July, and they are going into a game which will mean that for one of the teams it’s gone. You will see a whole lot of nervousness throughout Nowlan Park and no more so than on the field.”
Stephen Lucey expects injuries and the availability of key men to play a major role with Jackie Tyrell and Paul Murphy out for Kilkenny, while there are major doubts over Henry Shefflin and Michael Fennelly. Tipperary could be boosted by the return of Lar Corbett and Eoin Kelly.
“We are in for an absolute cracker. I can’t wait for Saturday night they are going to go at it hammer and tongs. There are a few cracks showing in Kilkenny and injury is a major issue. Shefflin and Michael Fennelly are critical to the Kilkenny team.”
“Whoever works hardest...possibly Kilkenny will win on home advantage.”