Friday 21 October 2016

Tipp boss preaching caution as his troops turn on style

Jackie Cahill

Published 22/06/2015 | 02:30

Niall O’Meara of Tipperary fields a high ball ahead of Limerick defender Seamus Hickey at the Gaelic Grounds yesterday
Niall O’Meara of Tipperary fields a high ball ahead of Limerick defender Seamus Hickey at the Gaelic Grounds yesterday

Tipperary manager Eamon O'Shea preached caution in the wake of the county's biggest Munster championship victory over Limerick since 1962.

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When O'Shea was coach in 2009, Tipp blitzed Limerick at Croke Park in the All-Ireland semi-final at Croke Park, and some of their forward movement yesterday brought those old memories flooding back.

O'Shea revealed that the group "spent hours" working on those pretty patterns which came to fruition at the Gaelic Grounds.

And Tipp's stirring display brought O'Shea a first Munster Championship victory since taking over in 2012.

Limerick were undone by the finishing power of Seamus Callanan, the sublime wrists of John 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer and the fearlessness of Jason Forde on his full Munster Senior Championship debut.

On the back of this impressive display, Tipp will start as favourites against Waterford in the Munster final on July 12.

But O'Shea smiled when it was suggested that TV viewers had witnessed the potential All-Ireland finalists in action yesterday - Kilkenny steamrolled Wexford with 24 points to spare as Tipp beat Limerick by 16.

But he downplayed growing expectations afterwards, reflecting: "Look, honestly, you learn from experience and experience tells you that last year we lost the game against Limerick and ended up in the All-Ireland final.

"There is nothing to stop Limerick being in the All-Ireland final and Tipperary being also-rans.

"It's just another game in three weeks' time and honestly, I still believe there are five or six teams (out there).

"We're playing a team in the Munster final who are unbeaten this year. "Looking at Galway, they're putting up 20-point wins every day.

"I can't say enough about Limerick in terms of their approach to the game. Limerick will be formidable yet over the next three or four months.

"We got some breaks today, I'm not downplaying the fact that we hurled okay but there are five or six teams."


O'Shea also bristled when asked how much this one meant to him personally. Quite a lot, privately, but O'Shea's public persona wasn't giving too much away.

O'Shea was visibly animated on the touchline, reacting to key scores and moments.

But he responded: "Me? It doesn't mean anything for me except we won a game. I just manage these boys. Why would it mean something for me?

"I'm proud of the players. The players are really good and working with these boys is such a joy. It gives me energy and that's why I really want to see them do well. But for me? I'm not in the picture here.

"The players are the real heroes and I just sit and watch them. They have an awful lot to do yet to get anywhere where they want to be but it's never about the manager, ever."

Limerick boss TJ Ryan attempted to put some sense on a below-par display from his side.

Chasing a third successive Championship victory over Tipp, the Shannonsiders looked surprisingly flat and will learn their qualifier fate this morning.

Ryan was aggrieved when Graeme Mulcahy's attempted point was waved wide in the 49th minute. A score then would have hauled the hosts level and momentum was certainly with them at the time.

Ryan argued his case vehemently with linesman Alan Kelly but after consultation with his umpires, referee Brian Gavin backed the men in white coats behind Darren Gleeson's goal.

Ryan insisted: "The story is it was a point, there's no other story to it. In the overall scheme of things it would have brought the game level.

"We had momentum at the time but in fairness Tipp went down the field, they're a good side and they got scores. You can't cough up goals like that to a team like this because it kills you."

Ryan is backing his players to regroup through the back door but having contested the last two All-Ireland semi-finals, anything less than a repeat performance would be viewed as a failure.

Ryan will hope to take a leaf out of Tipp's book as the Premier County hit back after losing to Limerick in 2014 to reach an All-Ireland decider.


He added: "Our job now is to regroup and get organised. We're disappointed with today and we have to suck it up and try and get a win the next day and build momentum from there.

"We're out of the Munster Championship but we're still in the All-Ireland championship so it's a new championship tomorrow morning."

Tipp, Ryan conceded, were the better team on the day "by a mile" and only for a brief spell in the second half did Limerick reach anything like true Championship pitch.

He continued: "Once we got to the intensity of it, that's what you want. Disappointing, we knew we were playing a good side, we knew what Tipperary were capable of.

"We know they're at the very top of the scale but at the same time I thought we'd be closer to them today, I thought we prepared well.

"They were the better team on the day by a mile, we were disappointed with it.

"I have to say I thought things were good. Training was going well - okay we had a few injuries after the club championships but every county has them so look, we don't have any excuses today.

"We got overrun. Their forwards got good goals at good times and killed us."

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