Thursday, September 01, 2011

Cody's Conundrum

Cody wants this one so badly he can taste it. It’s visceral. And a win alone will hardly suffice. He wants to slaughter these upstarts. They had the temerity to halt the run of the greatest team in history. He burns to show that last year was a mere aberration, due mainly to King Henry being hors de combat. He also wants to deal with the heresy that Kilkenny are being supplanted by another great team, or even, whisper it, a greater team. Then he can retire with an impregnable reputation.

But he is taking a gamble with his legacy, he could have retired in glory last year. If Kilkenny lose again this time it will take some luster off their reputation (and his) and people will begin to speak of Tipp in the exalted way they had been speaking of Kilkenny. ("That was a great Kilkenny team but not a patch on the Tipp team that followed them.") So pay attention Declan Ryan in Clonoulty. They will come at you like a whirlwind in the first quarter and if you don’t withstand them you are doomed. Start like you did against Dublin and you are truly doomed. And keep the bloody ball away from Tommie Walsh. And please bring on Brendan Maher earlier this time.

This young and still improving Tipp team have matched Kilkenny in the last two All-Irelands. Two years ago they realized that Kilkenny are not unbeatable. Who will be more motivated? Cody and Kilkenny raging against the dying of the light, or the new kids on the block full of confidence and still retaining an edge of bitterness about the one that got away two years ago.

I think that Tipp have grown into a great team and that they will prove it on Sunday. But it will be close. A few bob on the draw at 11-1 mightn’t be a bad idea. But Tipp to win the replay!

Post script: The forecast rain may suit Kilkenny better. Maybe I should take that 6-4 against Kilkenny offered by Paddy Power as insurance.