What a great weekend of sport in store, we have only just caught our breath after last nights epic Tipp v Cork minor hurling game and now its the double header in Thurles and the replay of the minors back on the horizon. – by Stephen Gleeson
Looking to the Westmeath game first I met up with Eamon O Shea who was the keynote speaker in Upperchurch on Wednesday night talking about building vibrant communities for all ages in rural areas.
The former Tipp manager gave Tipp FM Sport an exclusive interview this week and looked ahead to a great summer of hurling-
“Tipperary is starting off now on a new championship, so they’ll be looking to win against Westmeath and it’s not going to be easy after a five week break. I think we’ll need a little bit of patience and hopefully they’ll get through that game and look, I’d have huge confidence in the team and in the squad and in the management so I just look forward to the next two months.”
Time has passed since Tipp bowed out of Munster to a pacey skilful Cork team and Eamon felt the time would have been used well. He said it was a “time to reflect and address things that needed to be addressed. You know, every game is going to be different now.”
The former Kilruane McDonaghs star continued “I think there’s energy in that group and I’d have massive belief in both the players and the management so I think it’s for right now, I think its time to rally behind the team and management and I think Tipp will give it a good crack. I’m always optimistic anyway but I’d be optimistic for this team.”
Tipp named three debutants in the team to take on Westmeath, Darragh Mooney in goals, Thossy Hamill at full back and Joe O Dwyer at wing back. The former All Ireland winning coach believes there’s a lot of strength in the Tipp panel. He said “Listen to do anything there’s got to be constant evolution and the important thing is that we’ve got a very good base of player in the squad. We’ve got players with good attributes to come in. By its nature you have to change, so, I think we will see that evolving over the new few months hopefully. I’m looking for a long summer.” He added “I’ve huge faith in the squad and in the manager.”
Eamon O Shea took charge of Tipp in 2013 and was at the helm until 2015 when selector Michael Ryan took over the hot seat. I asked Eamon did he miss management and he responded with an emphatic no!! “I’m quite content to look from where I am it’s really nice just to look on.” The Economics professor continued “Its always an honour to manage your own county, and more importantly to work with the group of players and also the current manager I worked with as well and it was a real pleasure for me to be involved with players of that level of ability and that level of skill who gave us all that much enjoyment and certainly gave me so much enjoyment so I wont forget it.”
Overall, he feels hurling is in a good place but the new hurling proposals have to be taken in context “I think it’s good there’s a lot of competition in hurling. The more competition we have the better. We need exciting games. There’s nothing like a hurling match to transform the mood of a county and the mood of a country when they see a good hurling match.”
He added a note of caution to the changes in the game “We need to be mindful of those changes. My experience has been if you have a very competitive league followed by a very competitive championship it can squeeze club games and it can create a huge burden on players as well so if we are evolving we need to address the way the league is set up at the moment.”
Eamon continued “We just need to be mindful that we bring everybody along and the club game as well because it’s more than what we see on the televisions.”
He finished with an absolute truth that is often forgotten in GAA circles “It’s a game of the people”.
Tipp v Limerick- Preview by Stephen Gleeson
Looking to the first of the double headers in Thurles it’s a game that Tipp will relish as they have a chance to atone for their Munster semi final defeat. Limerick arrived in the Ragg that day and produced an excellent performance beating Tipp who hit 14 wides. To add salt to the wounds Limerick went on and beat Cork in the Munster final.
Tipp come into this game on the back of a tough outing against Cork and will look to Captain Mary Ryan and Clonoulty Rossmores Cait Devane for leadership and inspiration.
Brian Boyle’s charges have worked away under the radar and I caught up with them recently after training in Borrisoleigh Brian and Cait said they were looking forward to the game and another crack at Limerick.
Tipp v Cork-minor hurling- Preview by Stephen Gleeson
Last Thursday’s game was a classic Tipp v Cork battle of old. Watching alongside Ken Hogan all present went through every emotion and in the end two great teams get the chance to do it all again next Monday night.
Tipp had inspiring performances from all over, in particular Craig Morgan, Kieran Breen and in particular Jerome Cahill in defence who had a great battle with Cork star forward Brian Turnbull who hit 0-10 (four from play) for the rebels.
JK Brackens player and Our Lady’s Croke Cup winner Paddy Cadell starred in the middle for Tipp while Conor Bowe and goal scorer Ray McCormack put in a great performance as well. The second goal scorer Darragh Woods had a big impact on the game when introduced and he contributed a massive 1-4 (0-2 frees) for Tipp.
Cork had their heroes as Daire Connery, Diarmuid Lenihan and Rob Downey hurled particularly well. It was an epic game with the result in doubt till the last puck of the game and we await Mondays replay down by the Lee. The slightest move could tip the balance in this one.
I spoke with Tipp Minor manager Liam Cahill after Thursday night’s drawn game
Remember the senior hurling, camogie and replay of the Munster minor semi final will all be live here on Tipp FM.