Sunday 4 December 2016

Kieran Bergin: Anyone that knows us in Tipperary knows we tend to get carried away with ourselves

Published 15/07/2015 | 02:30

Kieran Bergin: 'I was very surprised we didn't score a goal at the weekend because we're a goal-scoring team'
Kieran Bergin: 'I was very surprised we didn't score a goal at the weekend because we're a goal-scoring team'

Kieran Bergin admits only an All-Ireland title can make 2015 a successful season for Tipperary, even though they reclaimed the Munster hurling title for the first time in three years on Sunday.

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The defender was surprised that Tipp were denied a goal in a Championship match for the first time in five years by a well organised Waterford defence.

The Killenaule man was in the Dicksboro club in Kilkenny city where the All-Ireland Championships were launched by the GAA and conceded that Tipp's first challenge as a county will be not to get carried away by their latest success.

"Anybody who knows us in Tipperary knows we do tend to get carried away with ourselves a little bit and we let things get to our heads," the 29-year-old half-back acknowledged.

"So we're just going to try and stay grounded this year. I think the backroom staff we have now will keep us seriously grounded and focused on the overall goal.

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At the launch of the All-Ireland hurling Championship at St Canice's Cathedral, Kilkenny, yesterday were, from left, Waterford’s Noel Connors, Tipperary's Kieran Bergin, Kilkenny's Cillian Buckley and Galway's Andy Smith BRENDAN MORAN / SPORTSFILE
At the launch of the All-Ireland hurling Championship at St Canice's Cathedral, Kilkenny, yesterday were, from left, Waterford’s Noel Connors, Tipperary's Kieran Bergin, Kilkenny's Cillian Buckley and Galway's Andy Smith BRENDAN MORAN / SPORTSFILE

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"We didn't sit down in October and say we would be happy with winning Munster. We want the Liam MacCarthy and the Tipp fans deserve it. We'll get down now and focus on whoever we play in the next five weeks."

Bergin, a late developer in inter-county terms, has credited manager Eamon O'Shea for the manner in which he has absorbed most of the flak for Tipp's failure to land a trophy for the previous two seasons.

Their adherence to a system of play has been paramount and they are reaping benefits now.

"From the media, he did take an awful rap but he absorbed every bit of it," he said. "Last year, when we were going terrible during the League and a relegation battle was possible, he took everything.

"We were trying to implement a system at the time, a belief in ourselves, but not once did he come in and say 'lads, we need to do this. . .'

Waterford selector Dan Shanahan shakes hands with Tipperary manager Eamon O'Shea after the Munster SHC final SPORTSFILE
Waterford selector Dan Shanahan shakes hands with Tipperary manager Eamon O'Shea after the Munster SHC final SPORTSFILE

"He just said 'stick with the plan and stay going'. That confidence he showed in our ability inspired us a little bit to say 'look, maybe we need to pull the finger out a bit and start doing a bit more for him'.

"He's a great man. Eamon just wants what best for you outside of hurling as well. He wants to bring out the best in you. A lot of lads are starting to see that now. He's a really good person.

"We don't want him coming into dressing-rooms now saying 'well done' or whatever and having a meeting the next day and having to ask 'where did we go wrong?' this time. We're all sick of those meetings after the last few years."

Bergin admits that the more tactical approach that hurling managements are taking to setting up their team has contributed heavily to a drop by half in the number of goals scored by comparison to the same stage of the 2014 Championship.

"I was very surprised we didn't score a goal at the weekend because we're a goal-scoring team. Waterford had two extra defenders and they were probably trying to choke out the likes of Seamus Callanan from getting that goal threat," he said.

Just two goals from three Championship games over the weekend crystallises a changing game, he feels.

"Last year had some very high-scoring games but teams have to adapt to this tactical situation," he said.

Tipperary's Brendan Maher shakes hands with Waterford's Patrick Curran after the game
Tipperary's Brendan Maher shakes hands with Waterford's Patrick Curran after the game

"It might get worse, it might fade out but, as it stands, Waterford are the ones who are driving this now."

Bergin revealed that Padraic Maher could be out for between three to four weeks because of a shoulder injury sustained against Waterford but has credited his influence in a sweeping role on the way Tipp have restructured.

"He's like a Dyson hoover there, he mops up so much ball. Without him, we would be in a bit of trouble," he said.

The return of Noel McGrath is also on the horizon as he overcomes testicular cancer but Bergin revealed he had expected to return for the Munster final.

"I think he's frustrated with himself. I spoke to him a few months ago after he had done the chemotherapy and he said he thought he would be back two weeks before the Munster final," he said.

"He's doing a bit of training with us but not at the same level yet."

Bergin feels McGrath's ability to score long-range points is perfectly tailored for the way the game is being played this summer.

"He is a massive loss out around the middle of the field. He would have been a brilliant player to have there because he can pop it over from that range," he said.

"I took a shot there in the second half which was wide as the corner flag, but if that ball had fallen to Noel, he would have probably put it between the sticks."

Irish Independent

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