Ahead of the All-Ireland hurling final between Tipperary and Kilkenny, we got the views of some current players on how they think the game will unfold.

Podge Collins (Clare)

  • How will Kilkenny negate the influence of Tipperary's half-back line?

Kilkenny will look at how Wexford swarmed the Tipperary half-back line and didn’t let Padraic Maher draw frees. If they keep the same intensity they applied to the Limerick half-back line, I’d imagine the Tipperary's launchpad could be in trouble. 

  • Who will have more impact, TJ Reid or Seamus Callanan? 

Brendan Maher will probably man-mark TJ which is a battle everyone will look forward to. However, TJ may end up on Padraic Maher and it will be interesting to see how that changes things. Huw Lawlor, who has had a good year, will be hoping for assistance from Padraig Walsh to cover Seamus Callanan who is such a dangerous prospect. You also have four other scoring machines around him and Kilkenny will only have to look at the 2016 All-Ireland to get an idea of that. 

  • Will it be a free-scoring shootout or tactical arm-wrestle?

The free scoring shootout is never something you want against Tipperary. They have too many weapons. I think we will see a tactical arm wrestle from two of our most traditional counties. 

  • Who will win the battle on the line?

This could mean several things, unfortunately. This used to mean tactics and match ups (of players) on the field. Now I see coaches trying to outdo each other running onto the field and interfering with each other. It’s sad to see and where does it stop? I hope the GAA nip this in the bud soon. 

  • Who will win and why

Tipperary. I think they will have too much upfront but I’m sure Brian Cody will have learned from 2016 so they won’t get the same room they got that day.

Liam Óg McGovern (Wexford)

  • How will Kilkenny negate the influence of Tipperary's half-back line?

Kilkenny will back themselves to win their own individual battles. TJ Reid, Walter Walsh and Adrian Mullen are no mugs in the air and can match the Tipp half-back line in that department. The puckout strategy, numbers to the breaking ball, short ball to half-forwards, runners from deep, constant forward movement may also be adopted to upset the Tipperary half back rhythm.

  • Who will have more impact, TJ Reid or Seamus Callanan?

Both players will have a significant impact on the game. TJ will get more touches. Seamus will score more from play. TJ will provide more assists. Seamus will likely hit the net. Both will win frees.  Both will lead from the front and are equally superb captains.

  • Will it be a free-scoring shootout or tactical arm-wrestle?

All-Ireland finals take a life of their own, anything could happen.  The first 10 mins will be cagey and will be incredibly physical. James Owens (referee) will try his best to let the game flow, which will support a physical game. I cannot see it being a free-scoring shootout any time before the 55 minute marker when players begin to fatigue. The impact of both team’s benches will be crucial.

Tipperary are likely to get more shots off than Kilkenny throughout and if they can get a conversion rate in the high 60s that should be enough for them to win the game.

  • Who will win the battle on the line?

They are two top managers, who will have their players primed for battle. Cody’s ruthless approach to selection is impressive whilst Sheedy's bond with the players is evident. I would swing it to the latter with the whispers of Tommy Dunne and Eamon O'Shea in Liam Sheedy’s ear tipping the scales.

  • Who will win and why?

I think Kilkenny will need to hit the net at least twice to come out on top. I just feel the confidence Tipperary will have gotten from the last 10 minutes in their semi-final victory matched with their unrivalled point-taking from distance gives them a slight advantage. Tipperary, by a couple of points.


Ross King (Laois)

  • How will Kilkenny negate the influence of Tipperary's half-back line?

Avoid them. Kilkenny will need to minimise aimless ball pucked on top of them. They'll want to stop the Tipperary half back line growing into the game and unleashing quality ball into their inside-forward line. They also love to pick Noel McGrath in the pocket and we all know what he can do.

  • Who will have more impact, TJ Reid or Seamus Callanan?

TJ, He’ll be on more ball in general play as he works his way around the middle third of the pitch and is a target for puckouts. Also, his frees are worth 10 points most games. Seamie has been clinical inside all year and will rely on the quality of ball into him which Kilkenny will try stop at its source. I think a big performance from either player will be rewarded with hurler of the year.

  • Will it be a free-scoring shootout or tactical arm-wrestle?

I think it’ll break into a free-scoring final. It’ll be very difficult to stop the quality of forwards on display for 75 minutes. Kilkenny smothered Limerick for most of the semi-final but can they sustain that against what are potentially a better six forwards?

  • Who will win the battle on the line?

Brian Cody. He’s led Kilkenny to 16 out of the last 21 All-Ireland finals. He’s lived this and knows nothing else. It reminds me of Alex Ferguson versus Jose Mourinho back when Man United and Chelsea were at their peak with two great leaders at the helm.

  • Who will win and why?

Kilkenny. Sixth gear is all they know. They’re consistent and their forwards are coming into good form. Tipperary have match-winners all over the pitch but they’ll have a lot of pressure on them, with the return of Sheedy and their early form that had the country talking. Kilkenny have been in the background and are waiting to pounce.


Sean Finn (Limerick)

  • How will Kilkenny negate the influence of Tipperary's half-back line?

Getting their half-backs on the back foot and running at their defence is one way of really exposing their half-back line - whoever does well on secondary ball off puck outs will go a long way to winning this game.

  • Who will have more impact, TJ Reid or Seamus Callanan?

Both excellent hurlers but very different. TJ is a go-to man for primary possession and very smart when he gets the ball, attracts players towards him and lays it off very well, whereas Seamus Callanan is more of a threat closer to goal - he has a natural instinct to get into great positions that all good forwards have.

  • Will it be a free-scoring shootout or tactical arm-wrestle?

It all depends on how the referee lets the game develop, but a lot will depend on who makes the most tackles throughout the game and whoever forces the most turnovers in defence.

  • Who will win the battle on the line?

It's hard to look beyond Brian Cody in a final between these two teams.

  • Who will win and why?

It will be very close but whoever’s defence gets on top will win. Kilkenny are excellent at doing the simple things well, and there is a smart method to the way they play - the notion of them just driving the ball long and hoping the forwards win it is nonsense.

Their is method to that madness. However, Tipperary can get into a flow of throwing the ball around to one another and if allowed to do so, they will be hard to stop. I’d fancy Kilkenny, solely down to the work-rate and intensity that they can apply.


Conor Lehane (Cork)

  • How will Kilkenny negate the influence of Tipperary's half-back line?

I think Kilkenny will do what they always do to any back line that they have faced and bring such a ferocious work-rate. Every half-forward line in the game today is constantly moving trying to get the backs out of their comfort zone but it will be their work-rate will be their biggest advantage.  

  • Who will have more impact, TJ Reid or Seamus Callanan?

TJ might just have a bit more impact purely based on him taking frees. He’s consistently been their highest scorer throughout every game whereas Tipperary maybe have more of a spread-out scoring threat.

  • Will it be a free-scoring shootout or tactical arm-wrestle?

I'm hoping that it may be a shootout considering how good both sets of forwards are.

  • Who will win the battle on the line?

I think Tipperary will win on the line between Brian Cody and Liam Sheedy, and the match will go their way too.

  • Who will win and why?

From seeing Tipperary in full flow this year against us, that makes it hard to look past them.

Follow the All-Ireland hurling final between Kilkenny and Tipperary (Sunday 3.30pm) via our live blogs on RTÉ.ie and the News Now app, watch live on RTÉ2 or listen to radio commentary on RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta