Red-hot Galway can Tipp holders over the edge
All-Ireland champions Tipperary should be entering tomorrow's semi-final against Galway wearing the favourites' tag but instead it's the men from the west who appear to be in the driving seat.
Galway's handsome win over Michael Ryan's side in the Allianz League final and their subsequent cruise to the Leinster title has shunted them into pole position for what promises to be an explosive contest.
But manager Michael Donoghue is playing down the level of expectation surrounding the Tribesmen.
"We have a very strongly focused group of players who are not taking too much notice of the speculation which surrounds the game," pointed out Donoghue. "All the expectations are coming from outside our camp and we have no control over that."
Galway have certainly been hitting the high spots lately and their attack could flourish once again since Tipperary appear to be rather surprisingly vulnerable at the back.
Manager Ryan does not try to mask his concerns about this element of his team's make-up.
"We have been conceding goals but I believe we can rectify this," he stated.
"Quite often it can be difficult in the full-back line because one slip and you could be punished heavily. Obviously we have been working on things and we would hope that we will be more compact."
Pauric Maher, John McGrath and Seamus Callanan can be key figures for Tipperary and they will confront a Galway defence in which Aidan Harte is particularly sound. The teams are meeting for the third successive year at the semi-final stage.
Tipperary won last year's clash by a point, while Galway prevailed by the same margin the year before.