Ger sees chinks in Tipp's armour

March 13, 2017

The Tipperary team stand for the national anthem before their Allianz HL clash against Kilkenny at Semple Stadium, Thurles.
©INPHO/Tommy Dickson.

Ger Loughnane has raised doubts about Tipperary's ability to win back-to-back All-Ireland SHC titles after last Saturday's thrilling draw with Kilkenny.

Tipp went into the game as favourites, but needed a late Steven O'Brien point to preserve their 11-month unbeaten record.

"That soft centre, for so long their undoing, once again raised its unwelcome head," Loughnane writes in today's Irish Daily Star.

"Leading by eight points after 20 minutes, Kilkenny outscored them by 2-12 to 0-10 in the remaining 54. Kilkenny cleaned Tipp out in midfield and obliterated their half forward line, two of the big flaws in the Premier's hurling from 2010 to 2015 again in evidence.

"Once again, Tipp completely relied on John McGrath up front and brilliant as he is, teams will eventually get to grips with him as Paul Murphy did in the second half. And with McGrath's creativity, Tipp are very blunt up front. Seamus Callanan was again anonymous when faced with a real quality defender and Dan McCormack faded after the first 20 minutes."

The former Clare All-Ireland winning manager added: "Saturday night gave a glimpse of how fragile the Tipp defence can be when Padraic Maher isn't at his virtuoso best. 

"A man as shrewd as (Michael) Ryan will by now realise that, although the scoreboard said that the game ended in a draw, it was a contest that Kilkenny won comprehensively."

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