herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Tipp have toppled Cork and Dublin, now for Tyrone

TYRONE v TIPPERARY

(Parnell Park, Tonight 6.0, live TG4)

SO much for a third Dublin/Roscommon All-Ireland in four seasons - the widely touted script before a semi-final ball was kicked.

Football, however, has a strange habit of ignoring the pre-ordained. Moreover, no one can deny the merit of Tipperary's storming second half victory charge against Dessie Farrell's toppled champions, or Tyrone's even more emphatic win over the Rossies.

After the latter, manager Fergal Logan fired a broadside against a leading bookmaker (for quoting odds of 9/4) and a "lazy journalist" for suggesting Tyrone's star men (selectors Peter Canavan and Brian Dooher) were now on the sidelines.

Well, the bookies have now reacted by making Logan's men marginal favourites - while the scribes should be more familiar with the likes of midfielder Cathal McShane (0-3) and corner-forward Lee Brennan (0-6, five from play).

Still, for all this new-found respect, Tyrone face a challenge here that is far more concrete than just a fairytale story involving football wannabes in a hurling stronghold.

Whereas Tyrone are backboned by the Ulster minor winners of 2012, a handful of this Tipp team have All-Ireland minor winning pedigree, from 2011. This spring they have already bucked the odds against Cork rivals chasing a Munster five-in-a-row, and a Dublin team tipped for back-to-back All-Irelands. They have two midfield powerhouses in Colin O'Riordan and Steven O'Brien, but there's far more to Tommy Toomey's team who have the momentum to create history.

ODDS: Tyrone 5/6 Draw 13/2 Tipp 13/10

VERDICT: Tipperary

EIRGRID ALL-IRELAND 21Fc FINAL

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