selection box

Can Shefflin, Kelly, Walsh or Cahill force a way into Kilkenny-Tipperary teams for replay?

We’ve taken a look at the selection calls facing Eamon O’Shea and Brian Cody before next Saturday.

Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

THE COUNTDOWN IS on to Saturday’s All-Ireland hurling final replay in Croke Park and it’s time for Brian Cody and Eamon O’Shea to decide whether to shuffle their cards from the drawn game.

Here’s some of the selection calls they face:


Brian Cody has never shown a reluctance to shake things up in his starting fifteen. The Kilkenny boss routinely moves players around from game to game. Two years ago he responded to the drawn All-Ireland final against Galway by drafting in Cillian Buckley and Walter Walsh to his attack in place of Colin Fennelly and Aidan Fogarty.

Buckley grabbed a point but it was Walsh’s man-of-the-match display that yielded 1-3 which made the most forceful statement. In Kilkenny, change is good. Will there be change before Saturday? Kilkenny’s players put in a supreme display three weeks ago. They did make four substitutions to their team, albeit that John Power’s late introduction was when Richie Hogan got injured.

Elsewhere Aidan Fogarty came on for Walter Walsh, Henry Shefflin replaced Colin Fennelly while Padraig Walsh got on for Joey Holden. Those first two attacking alterations came in the second-half but neither replacement notched a score.

Henry Shefflin comes on as a sub against Tipperary. James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Shefflin admittedly entered the fray late on and was not involved in the play. Cody insists that the Ballyhale totem is capable of starting. It would be a gamble to do so given the 35 year-old’s lack of game time this season as he has been restricted to substitute appearances. The class is indisputable but are Kilkenny better served bringing him on or utilising him from the outset?

Fogarty was understood to have been in terrific form in the lead-up to the drawn game. There was no action for Padraig Walsh, who has caught the eye this summer, the last day while his brother Tommy also stayed on the bench along with established defender Kieran Joyce. Could any of them be pitched in by Cody or will he stick with what he has?

Padraig Walsh Kilkenny's Padraig Walsh. Donall Farmer / INPHO Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO


The drawn match saw Eamon O’Shea move four times to summon substitutes from the Hogan Stand and thrust them in to the action. The biggest impact was made by Michael Cahill. A renowned defender, he entered the game in the middle third for Gearoid Ryan and showed his versatility as he slotted in seamlessly.

Thurles Sarsfields club man Cahill bagged a point and gave Tipperary a vital lift. The dilemma for O’Shea is if he starts Cahill, is he then robbing his team of a valuable impact sub at a stage in the second-half? Tipperary’s corner back duo of Paddy Stapleton and Cathal Barrett did not put a foot wrong, and on that basis it would be a major judgement call to bring in Cahill to replace one of them at the back.

Michael Cahill 7/9/2014 Tipperary's Michael Cahill. Cathal Noonan / INPHO Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

The other three substitutes that Tipperary introduced were Eoin Kelly, Jason Forde and John O’Brien. Kelly is one of Tipperary’s most decorated players but injuries have stunted his ability to exert an influence this year.

It is intriguing to note how Tipperary missed two penalties during the game and an ability to net from such placed ball scenarios is a strong weapon in Kelly’s armoury. But is that a convincing enough argument to accommodate him from the start?

O’Brien was brought on in the dying moments for Seamus Callanan but it’s impossible to see the leading Hurler of the Year contender from Drom-Inch not getting a starting place. That leaves U21 player Forde, who did show great poise and confidence to grab a critical point in the drawn game. Yet it seems more likely that the Silvermines player will be used in a cameo role rather than from the outset as well.

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