“It’s good to be back, we have had a very enjoyable last few months and managing Liam McCarthy around the county is probably as difficult an assignment as trying to win it back!” Tipp manager Liam Sheedy told Tipp FM as he prepares for Saturday evenings first competitive fixture of the decade for the county’s senior hurlers, a game you can hear live on Tipp FM.
The Tipp players and management brought the Liam McCarthy to towns and villages across the county the last few months “You’re trying to make sure to bring it to every part of the county so we are very lucky. In fairness the GDA has done a great job it’s been to all the schools and everywhere. The lads got their holiday at the end of the year they are only back from New York and Mexico. It was a great trip.” Tipp manager Liam Sheedy told Tipp FM’s Stephen Gleeson.
Sheedy continues “We are back since last Wednesday, and we are back at it, back training and we got a match into ourselves and its building up now and you don’t get much time really. It kicks off again next Saturday night, on our own patch here against Limerick, reigning Munster champions and League champions. We are probably a little behind the curve and that’s to be expected and I would say the lads are up for it, they are mad for work and we are looking forward to the 2020 campaign.”
There have been some changes to the panel over the winter months “We have assembled a training panel, there is some guys that are back in and there is some new faces in as well so look overall we have assembled a really good strong panel. We are in the fortunate position that we come into 2020 as All Ireland champions so we have got the good panel since last year and obviously with the success of the under 21s in 2018 and under 20s in 2019 there is some really good young talent coming through” Sheedy said.
The Portroe native continued “I suppose look putting them into an environment where they can grow and look to prosper, you know it is a big step up from especially from under 20 to the senior ranks but you know I think we saw it from some of the players that made the step up last year, it is within them and so its going to be a very very competitive arena this year and it will need to be. That’s the reality; we have got to get better in 2020”.
Regarding the upcoming league, the Tipp manager felt it is a chance for players to stake a claim for a starting jersey “Every time we go to battle we will be looking to get a performance, that’s the most important thing but I suppose we do need to be cognisant of the fact that we are slightly behind the curve. If I look at the work we had done between the beginning of November and the middle of January 2020 versus the middle of January 2019 we wouldn’t be as far on. That’s the reality of what comes with what we were faced with, which every county would love to be faced with since last August. So we are a little bit behind the curve but we are back at it and we have a really good honesty within the squad. We have got a really good squad assembled. We do need to make sure that the fifteen that get the jersey any day out is fully tested and I do think the success of Tipperary in 2020 is going to be down to numbers sixteen to thirty five and what role they can play because unless there’s a serious push from everyone within the panel to look to get on the pitch its key. We all know we have got to get two or three new faces, I mean any team has got to evolve and got to develop and that’s no different in Tipperary.”
On the challenge of Limerick the Portroe native Sheedy said “If we want to get a benchmark of where we are in the middle of January what better team to ask that question of you than Limerick. They are the reigning Munster champions and the reigning National League champions and i suppose in a lot of peoples eyes if you were to listen to the talk after the All Ireland there’s probably some people that would be of the view that they are the best team in Ireland so to have them coming to town next Saturday night is ideal for us.”
The two time All Ireland winning manager appealed to the Tipp public to come out in force once more this year “I plead to the county to get in behind the team in 2020. Certainly I felt in the earlier rounds of the league last year maybe we didn’t really come in behind the team, I would say the Wexford match last year was probably the moment I felt we won over the people of Tipperary. I would ask them, now that they have come on board, now that they are really come in behind the team in the latter stage of 2019 that they’d stay with us for 2020 because this is a team worth following”
You can hear the full interview here: