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Bubbles O'Dwyer doesn't expect the Galway defence to target him on Sunday
John Hanbury took down Seamus Callanan with a dangerous challenge in last year’s semi-final between the counties.

ALLEGATIONS OF KEY players being targeted by the opposition have become more common as the Gaelic football season has progressed.

Is it a matter of time before hurling follows suit?

Not according to Tipperary sharpshooter John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer, who doesn’t expect to encounter anything out of the ordinary from Galway’s defenders in Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final.

John O’Dwyer Cathal Noonan / INPHO Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

“I wouldn’t think so,” says O’Dwyer, who returns from suspension after missing Tipperary’s Munster final mauling of Waterford.

“We’re playing Galway and Galway are a serious outfit. We played them last year and they got on top of us and they beat us.

“They have six serious backs. It’s inter-county level, there’s no one player going to be targeted more so than another. You’re going to get your punishment off backs anyway.

“The same on the other side, our backs are going to give Galway punishment as well. I don’t think it’s going to make much of a difference whether they give me more attention or not. You’d just have to stand there and take it, that’s it.”

In that last four clash last year, O’Dwyer’s teammate Seamus Callanan was brought down by John Hanbury with a dangerous challenge for a second-half penalty. It left Callanan with symptoms of concussion and a series of headaches in the days after the clash.

“Them things happen in sport. It’s hurling. It’s a physical game, you are going to have to take them kind of hits. I don’t think that made any difference to anything. Galway are one of the most physical teams in Ireland, along with ourselves and Kilkenny.

“You’re there to play the game and you play it on the edge. If you’re not able to play the game on the edge and you turn around and you lose, you say, fair play to the other team and that’s it.

John Hanbury brings down Seamus Callanan James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Tipperary and Galway clash in a repeat of the semi-final tie in 2015, where the Tribesmen advanced despite a heroic performance from Callanan.

O’Dwyer is satisfied that the punishment fit the crime for his early dismissal against Limerick. “It was my own fault.” It took him a “week or two” to get his head around the fact he would miss out in the provincial decider.

He’s expected to be restored to the Tipperary starting lineup as they attempt to make it back to the All-Ireland final two years after their last September appearance.

“Galway were serious last year in the All-Ireland semi-final. They came with an intensity. We were coming in as favourites and all this sort of stuff but last year, it was never going to be a one-sided game.

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“The same this year, it’s not going to be a one-sided game either. Galway came with an attitude that they wanted to win and so did we. They got on top of us and they won.”

O’Dwyer hasn’t played a competitive game at this level in almost two months, but he was released back to his club Killenaule, where he played two championship games and a few challenge matches too.

Sean Og O'hAilpin INPHO INPHO

No Munster champions have gone on to win the All-Ireland since Cork back in 2005. O’Dwyer says the long wait between games last year’s defeat to Galway reckons it didn’t have much to do with it.

“Personally, I was flat against Galway and most of the team were but Galway didn’t allow us hurl. I don’t think it has anything got to do with the five week gap. There’s a lot made of it but I don’t think it has much of a difference. After the Munster final we went back training on the Tuesday and then took the week off.

“We went straight back at it with hard training for a couple of weeks and then tapered it down. [We're] just keeping our mindset right and keep training to the best way we possibly can. Whatever the trainers throw at us we have to take it in our stride and that’s it.”

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