Fear of losing drives black and amber: Tyrrell
JACKIE TYRRELL admits that Kilkenny are driven by a "fear of losing" and ahead of Saturday's O'Moore Park showdown with Dublin, insists "we don't want to sit at home and watch a Leinster final we're not in."
The five-time All-Ireland medalist and three-time All-Star conceded that last year's league final defeat to Dublin was "a humiliation" for the Cats and that the thought of a repeat performance helped drive the current side on to subsequent glories.
"Look at the league final last year; that was a humiliation," Tyrrell insisted. "We don't want to be having days like that, but it's more so the fear of losing. We don't want to lose, we don't want to sit at home and watch a Leinster final that we're not in. We want to win as much as we can."
On the loss of Hurler of the Year Michael Fennelly to injury, Tyrrell admits: "It's huge really because there's only one Mick Fennelly.
"A lot of our players wouldn't have the power that he has when he drives forward. The likes of Cillian (Buckley) and Michael Rice are great hurlers and real workers, but Michael gives you a different dynamic to everyone else.
"He's a huge loss. If you look at maybe playing the likes of Dublin, who are very big and physical around the middle of the field, you need your big players. He's gone and that's it. At least we have had time to plan."
MAYO'S all-time leading scorer Conor Mortimer has been dropped from the starting XV for Sunday's Connacht SFC semi-final with Leitrim. James Horan has made three changes from the team which was beaten in this year's league final by Cork, with Alan Freeman replacing Mortimer at corner-forward, Danny Geraghty coming in for Jason Gibbons in midfield and Michael Conroy making way for Jason Doherty.
Geraghty is one of three players making Championship debuts along with Kevin Keane and Lee Keegan in defence.
MAYO (SF v Leitrim): D Clarke; K Keane, G Cafferkey, K Higgins; L Keegan, D Vaughan, C Boyle; B Moran, D Geraghty; K McLoughlin, C O'Connor, A Dillon; A Freeman, A Moran, J Doherty.
LEITRIM (SF v Mayo): C McCann; D Beck, F McMorrow, P Maguire; C Clarke, E Williams, W McKeon; D Sweeney, S Moran; P Brennan, E Mulligan, P McGowan; R Cox, J Glancy, A Croal.