I suppose Kilkenny are going through a bit of rebuilding the last couple of years. Many people questioned, including myself, had they rebuilt sufficiently to challenge for an All-Ireland this year?

Tipperary had a poor year last year by their standards. Liam Sheedy [was a] big surprise coming back there and could he rebuild their fortunes?  

Tipperary and Kilkenny is one of the most enduring rivalries. They're there in the final on merit. Both of them had their setbacks through the year - Kilkenny losing the Leinster final and Tipperary losing the Munster final.

It's testimony to the character of both sets of players that they fought their way back to the final.

Their semi-final wins is all we can go on now. Limerick were many people's fancy for the All-Ireland this year and Kilkenny blew them away with the way they started. They had savage intensity.

TJ Reid has been unbelievable this year but a big part of Kilkenny's resurgence has been the support that he got up front. Colin Fennelly is back to his very best this summer, Adrian Mullen has been a massive find and the likes of Walter Walsh, Richie Hogan and John Donnelly are all having their moments.

Billy Ryan and Bill Sheehan are making their impact from the bench. Kilkenny will come into the final, particularly delighted with the form of Colin Fennelly.

Sheedy has really relied on the old guard with Tipperary. He set out his stall very early in the year, went for loyalty and it was repaid most of the year. The big plus for him in the semi-final was the impact off the bench because we questioned whether they had that. The four subs scored one point each when they came on against Wexford.

They looked beaten twice and had a man sent off and they came back and won the game. 

I think the record between Sheedy and Brian Cody has some bearing. Cody won three All-Irelands as a player and 11 as a manager - it's never going to be matched. Liam won his All-Ireland in 2010 and just because he won one doesn't mean it's going to be the only one.

He's very highly regarded and there'd be a huge mutual respect there. 

Cody can be very intimidating for other managers but Liam Sheedy is well able for it. There won't be an inch given by either of them or by any of their players. Both managers have an ability to bring their own personality and will to win. You could feel it in their players in the semi-finals, neither team were going to be beaten.

The build-up to the final has been a little subdued in the media but it's been big on the ground. I think Tipperary will shade it just about. They have a slight advantage with their range of match-winners and have so many options up front. 

Kilkenny will try to stop players like Padraic Maher, Ronan Maher and these lads from getting their heads up. They'll be looking to tackle with fierce intensity like they did against Limerick. I think Seamus Callanan and Colin Fennelly will be key figures and I think whoever comes out on top there in their battle [could decide the game].

Callanan has scored an incredible 7-16 so far in the championship, can he make it eight? I think Tipp will do it even though nearly everyone I've met is saying Kilkenny.

Verdict: Tipperary

Michael Duignan was speaking on Morning Ireland

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.