Hurling: Cahill backing Tipperary for All-Ireland glory
Dinny Cahill is currently contemplating whether to undertake the role of Antrim hurling manager for another year.
But while the Tipperary man has given huge commitment to the Saffrons, on Sunday it’s his native county which will take pride of place in his emotions.
Cahill is hoping that the Premier county can retain the All-Ireland title which they won in such dramatic style last year but accepts that Kilkenny will pose an even bigger threat this time round.
“It was a fantastic win that Tipperary had last year but it will take a massive effort if they are to repeat that feat,” says Cahill.
“Nevertheless, I feel they have the belief and the skill to sustain them.”
Under new manager Declan Ryan, Tipperary racked up an impressive 7-19 against Waterford in the Munster final before being more severely tested by Dublin in the All Ireland semi-final.
Now their defence, in which Brendan Cummins, Paul Curran and Pauric Maher have been outstanding, faces its biggest test against the much-vaunted Kilkenny attack which includes Henry Shefflin, Eddie Brennan, Richie Hogan and Richie Power.
Cahill readily endorses Ryan’s sentiment that Kilkenny continue to set the standards for others.
“Kilkenny won the 2009 final against Tipperary which gave them four-in-a-row. That underlines their superb consistency,” points out Cahill.
“Then Tipperary avenged that defeat last year so it’s all to play for on Sunday with this match being viewed as a rubber of sorts.”
Tipperary will look to Eoin Kelly, Lar Corbett and the very impressive Noel McGrath to unhinge a Kilkenny defence in which the much-decorated J J Delaney and Tommy Walsh remain key players.
While Cahill hopes to hail another Tipperary win, he will also be focusing on his plans to meet up with Antrim players prior to making up his mind about his own future.
Antrim chairman Jim Murray has expressed the hope that the post of county hurling team manager will be filled by the end of this month.
After engaging in talks with the players, Cahill will then meet with Murray and county secretary Frankie Quinn.
“We are making strong headway off the field and obviously it is our hope to make further progress on the field of play next year,” said Murray.
“The appointment of managers and their backroom teams normally does take time but we would like to have matters in this area cleared up by the end of the month if at all possible.”