Tuesday 25 October 2016

Cyril Farrell: Eamon O'Shea's men back to their best - only Cats could live with that

Cyril Farrell

Published 22/06/2015 | 02:30

A Tipperary supporter takes a ‘selfie’ with Seamus Callanan after the game
A Tipperary supporter takes a ‘selfie’ with Seamus Callanan after the game

A lot of people will probably say that yesterday was a disappointing day of hurling but you have to realise that we were watching the two best teams in the country.

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Tipperary and Kilkenny both put on an exhibition and neither Limerick nor Wexford could live with their far superior opponents.

Tipp are back to their best and some of the hurling was beautiful to watch. The precision in which they found each other and subsequently took their scores was a joy to watch and they have certainly laid a marker.

Eamon O'Shea has always played down the level of expectation that is on himself and his players but behind the scenes, they will each have felt a lot of pressure before throw-in.

Although that pressure has certainly subsided somewhat, it won't fully go away until Tipp win some silverware, and they now have a great opportunity to do just that.


The majority of that pressure has come from their own public but now that Tipp have ended their Limerick hoodoo, they can fully focus on winning their first Munster title in three years and their first under O'Shea.

I expected the intensity of Limerick's play to be far greater but the whip and shift style that we have become accustomed to under TJ Ryan just never materialised.

Limerick can't be too down on themselves, however, because I don't think any team in the country (other than Kilkenny) could have lived with Tipperary and the kind of form they were in.

The Tipp forwards were all on the same wavelength. Seamus Callanan was almost unplayable, while Jason Forde showed again that he's a great hurler.

When Brendan Cummins retired, Darren Gleeson knew he had big boots to fill but the years he spent as an understudy have really paid off.

He pulled off some fine saves and his distribution from his puck-outs was on the money all day.

His opposite number Barry Hennessy didn't have a day to remember but he'll learn from it.

Some Limerick supporters would have been surprised that he was picked ahead of Aaron Murphy but you couldn't blame him for Tipp's goals because he was given very little protection by his defenders.

Tipp weren't far away last year and but for a Hawk-Eye decision, they would have won the All-Ireland.

They've come back again and are flying and now that they've made the Munster final, how they manage the expectation and hype surrounding them, will determine how they fare against Waterford.

When you look through the two teams, man for man, Tipp are superior but in saying that, I don't feel that people are giving Waterford enough credit for what they are doing.

They came from behind to beat Tipp earlier this year and although people say that the League doesn't count, it certainly does and O'Shea will have learnt plenty of lessons from the defeat.

For Limerick, they will have to look at why they were so flat and lacked the drive to stay with Tipp for 70 minutes.

They will be hoping for a good draw in the qualifiers but one thing is for sure, no-one will want to come up against them.

Tipp will regroup over the next week and get ready to go again. There'll be another bumper crowd on July 12 and my only hope is that we get a day without a strong breeze.

That would make it a level playing field and with two young sides who are desperate for a Munster title, we should be in for a cracker.

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