By James McMahon

For the fourth time in six years Kilkenny and Tipperary will meet in the All-Ireland hurling final. Their clashes in the 2009 and '10 deciders were, in the minds of many, the greatest we've seen on hurling's biggest day.

Here's hoping their renewal on Sunday will round off a summer with the small ball that hasn't hit the heights of 2013.

Who's to say that we won't have a replay for the third year running and that we'll have to do it all over again on Saturday 27 September?

The minor decider at GAA HQ also has the Cats in action, with Limerick providing the opposition. 24 hours earlier sees the Kilmacud All-Ireland Hurling Sevens' take place, while Pearse Park in Longford is the venue, as Armagh and Cork do battle in the second of the TG4 All-Ireland senior semi-finals.  


1530 - Armagh v Cork - TG4 All-Ireland Ladies' SFC semi-final, Pearse Park, Longford.

Live television coverage on TG4 from 1515.

1030 - Kilmacud Hurling Sevens' - clubs featured include Blackrock and Midleton (Cork); Ballyboden and Kilmacud Crokes (Dublin); Portroe (Tipperary); Mullagh (Galway) and Wolfe Tones Shannon (Clare) 


1315 - Kilkenny v Limerick - All-Ireland MHC final, Croke Park.

Live coverage on TG4 from 1315 and on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra (Sunday Sport) from 1300.

1530 - Kilkenny v Tipperary - All-Ireland SHC final, Croke Park.

Watch live coverage of Kilkenny v Tipperary on RTÉ One television from 1400 and on Sky Sports 1 from 1430. Also live on the RTÉ Player and worldwide on GAAGO.

Live radio coverage on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra (Sunday Sport) from 1300.


Kilkenny v Tipperary, Croke Park 1530

There are shades of 2010 about this fixture. Well, maybe not! Back then, Tipperary navigated the back-door route to reach the decider after Cork dismissed them with relative ease in Munster. This time out, Tipperary fell at the first hurdle to Limerick in what was a tight match. A late surge from TJ Ryan's men saw them prevail by two points.

Four years ago there was talk of a "crisis" in the Tipp camp ahead of the qualifiers. In 2014, the prognosis was not as serious, though we worried about their well-being after their provincial exit.

Tipperary - Story of the Summer

However, the second-half surge that flattened Galway in round one of the qualifiers was the spark that ignited their season. Offaly, Dublin and Cork, were subsequently dispatched with relative ease and Eamon O'Shea's men are now back in the final.

Back in '10, it was all about the 'drive for five' for the Cats. This season the focus has been about bouncing back after last year's failure to win any championship silverware and the failure to grace the sod on Jones' Road.

Kilkenny: Story of the Summer

Henry Shefflin's injury and the "will he or won't he start the final" dominated the pre-match talk ahead of the '10 decider. The 'King' is still on his throne, though his impact now is more of a cameo role as he and his manager seek immortality.

Who's going to win?

It's a hard one to call. Kilkenny's graft and resolve was there for all to see when they edged past Limerick. Tipperary have been more stylish, though they haven't had a decent examination since they pulled themselves off the floor against Galway on 5 July.  

The bookies have Kilkenny as the slightest of slight favourites - perhaps taking into account that the Cat's have had the measure of their opponents in matches that matter since that September day four seasons ago. 

I believe that Cody's side have it in them to continue that sequence. Their tough semi-final will stand to them; their bench is stronger and there's the man himself - Brian Cody.

Verdict: Kilkenny