Sunday 25 September 2016

O'Shea: We can end Limerick hoodoo

Jackie Cahill

Published 19/06/2015 | 02:30

'For anybody who loves hurling, it's a great game to be looking forward to,' insists Tipp boss Eamon O'Shea ahead of their Munster semi-final against Limerick SPORTSFILE
'For anybody who loves hurling, it's a great game to be looking forward to,' insists Tipp boss Eamon O'Shea ahead of their Munster semi-final against Limerick SPORTSFILE

Tipperary manager Eamon O'Shea is confident that the Premier County can smash their recent Limerick hoodoo in Sunday's Munster SHC semi-final at the Gaelic Grounds.

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Tipp haven't beaten the Shannonsiders since 2012 in Championship hurling, and have lost in the last two seasons against their weekend opponents.

But optimistic O'Shea is backing his emerging young guns to make a big impact in the Gaelic Grounds cauldron, as the Kilruane MacDonaghs man goes in search of a first provincial Championship victory since taking charge in 2012.

"It's up to other people to look at the past - I'm concentrating on now and the future," O'Shea said yesterday.

"The team is concerned with what they think is most important and firmly focused on what's going to happen next Sunday."

Tipp have been without a competitive game since losing the Allianz League semi-final to Waterford in April - but O'Shea doesn't view that as a concern.

"What sometimes people don't realise is that a break like that gives you an opportunity to do things like strength and conditioning, which we needed," he explained, while speaking on Tipp FM.

"We started back later than all of the other teams with the exception of Kilkenny, and we've allowed them to play with their clubs.

"With (county) matches nine weeks apart, we let them back to their clubs for two or three weeks to hurl away there. We wouldn't be using that (break) as any excuse."

O'Shea acknowledges that Tipp fans travelling to Limerick will demand a victory to set up a Munster final clash against Waterford on July 12.

And the 2010 All-Ireland winning coach is confident of achieving something big in his final year in charge before handing over the reins to current assistant Michael Ryan.

O'Shea said: "What people forget is that we have a strong-willed bunch of players, they're resilient and came through a campaign last year to the All-Ireland final. We bring something to these games as well, sometimes people forget that but that's ok with us.

"It's a brilliant occasion, going down to Limerick. Not withstanding the last time (2013), we really like going down and testing ourselves there.

"For anybody who loves hurling, it's a great game to be looking forward to.

"I'm sure TJ (Ryan) and Limerick are thinking the same and for us in Tipperary, it's a great start to the season.

"Looking back over last season in terms of the support we got from our supporters, we need them again now and if we can all travel together, it will be a great boost for us down there.

"We're meeting a formidable team with ambitions of their own for the All-Ireland. That's only as it should be - two good teams going hammer and tongs."

Regular game time throughout the League for Ronan Maher and Michael Breen, players who can operate in the half-back line or midfield, have added depth to O'Shea's squad.

In attack, Jason Forde, Niall O'Meara and John McGrath did their chances of Championship inclusion no harm at all during the spring campaign.

O'Shea added: "We have our younger players that have come on the scene - Ronan Maher, Mikey Breen, Jason Forde, Niall O'Meara, John McGrath.

"We have a couple more young fellas like Barry Heffernan in the squad, Bill Maher, Tom Fox, Conor Kenny.

"We have a lot of younger players now and over the next few seasons those lads will be making their mark.

"There's huge belief in the squad and in our hurling and what we bring."

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