Fanatic Sheedy has no regrets over exit
Published 24/03/2011 | 05:00
He never hid his emotions on the sideline in his three years in charge of Tipperary, so there should hardly be any surprise that Liam Sheedy finds it difficult these days to sit in the stands watching the lads he turned into All-Ireland champions.
He hasn't missed a game since the league started, joining wife Margaret and the two kids up in the stand, so six months after killing off Kilkenny's 'drive for five', and five months after walking away from it all, are there any regrets?
"It wasn't a decision that came easy to us. Yes, you'd love to be involved on a Sunday afternoon, but the problem is the Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday nights and sometimes Saturday mornings before the match on a Sunday that takes up the time," he said.
"It needs to be committed to 100pc, so I felt the right thing to do for the team was to step aside."
Sheedy cited the 16-hour working days when he shocked the GAA world in October by stepping down, along with coach Eamon O'Shea and selector Michael Ryan.
There is often a suspicion that something else is going on when outgoing managers cite 'work' or 'personal reasons' as the decision to walk away, but it only emerged in October just how difficult it was for Sheedy and his selectors to combine demanding day jobs with inter-county hurling management.
It is a measure of the way Sheedy insulated his players that they did not know until he resigned that he had been promoted to a national retail and marketing job with Bank of Ireland, which required him to leave home most mornings in the early hours to work in Dublin. Ryan is a senior regional manager with Ulster Bank and O'Shea is a professor at NUI Galway.
"Myself, Eamon and Mick had a hugely enjoyable time being involved with the team, but it is very, very time-consuming and the day jobs are extremely busy. It was time to move on," said Sheedy.
He does not believe that his decision to quit will impact on Tipperary and he genuinely believes they can retain the All-Ireland for the first time in 46 years under new manager Declan Ryan and his selectors Tommy Dunne and Michael Gleeson.
"We are very lucky in Tipperary to have a management team like Declan and Tommy and Mike to come back in behind us. They came on board behind me in the minors in 2007 and they went on and won the All-Ireland so if we get the same story again then we'll all be very happy," said Sheedy.
"There will be no problem with hunger in the players either. No doubt about that.
"In general they have been starved of success. When Eoin Kelly, Brendan Cummins and Larry Corbett won one in 2001 I'm sure they didn't think they would be nine years waiting, but it is just hugely competitive.
"You can see it at the moment in the league, everyone has the capability of beating everyone else on any given day.
"It is going to be a hugely competitive championship again in 2011. Back-to-back wins is not going to be easy for sure."
It was like old times for Sheedy and his selectors when they got together in Salthill recently. Sheedy was joined by Ryan, Hurler
of the Year Lar Corbett, and players Seamus Hennessy and Darragh Egan at a gig for Salthill/ Knocknacarra GAA club, where O'Shea is passing on his wisdom to dozens of young players in the seaside resort in Galway.
Sheedy and the others travelled to Galway and spent the night with O'Shea's club, a fitting tribute to a man that he holds in very high esteem.
"Eamon is a hugely influential guy. He is more than just the coach of the team; he plays a huge role. He is a hugely positive man and very, very meticulous in his preparation and just really had the boys in a space that they would do anything for him," said Sheedy.
"He had a huge impact in Tipperary for the last three years and no doubt he will have the same impact in Salthill/ Knocknacarra over the next couple of years."
All going well, Sheedy will be in Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Sunday when Tipp will be looking for revenge over Cork for last year's Munster quarter-final defeat, but he admits that sitting quietly in the stand with all the other punters is not easy.
"Yeah, it is a little bit new. Myself and Margaret and the two kids are up in the stand now and I have been at all of the matches so far. These guys are genuine friends of mine and I have a genuine interest in them," he said.
"First and foremost, I am a Tipperary man and I am delighted to go along. People were good enough to support me in my time and I can guarantee that I'll be supporting the team over the next number of months.
"I am having a job sitting in the stand alright at the moment anyway. But that's the reality of it. You'd have a genuine link to all of the lads there and you'd like to see them do well.
"We do all get excited from time to time, but that is why we are involved, that's why you do it, because you love what you do and you want to get the best out of yourself and your team.
"It was a hugely enjoyable experience over the last three years."