While Tipp are slight favourites on the strength of their procession through Munster, they will be acutely aware of the Tribesmen’s derailing of their All Ireland dreams in 2015.
While that was undoubtedly the game of last year, Tipp will look to atone for that blip. They have developed a far stronger spine to their team in the meantime, and are playing the game with far more of their traditional physicality.
In Ronan Maher, Michael Breen, Seamus Kennedy and John McGrath, they have unearthed players of real substance who have come of age this year. Of course they have the big names also with Bubbles O’ Dwyer also back in the mix following his earlier suspension.
Galway will relish the challenge though – they were very emphatic in their victory over Clare in the quarter final and have developed a really good dynamic to their play.
Their backs will be far better than what Tipp will have met this year, and their forward unit have an excellent combination of aerial ability and pace.
However, the midfield battle will be the best barometer of how this game will tilt. Brendan Maher and the afore mentioned Michael Breen have been in imperious form all year. They have gelled really well – Maher cleaning up in a defensive role, while Breen (in a more attacking role) has already scored 3-2 in the championship so far.
But they will have to contend with Johnny Coen and Joe Canning who were formidable in the Clare game.. That said, I think Tipp will not be as over reliant on Seamie Callanan this year, and have the defence to cope with Galway’s attacking threat.
If it comes close to last year’s meeting, then we are in for another treat.