O'Neill hopeful Tipp coach O'Shea will stay on
HIGHLY rated physical trainer Cian O'Neill is hopeful that Tipperary's management team, backroom staff and playing panel will return en masse ahead of next year's All-Ireland SHC defence.
There has been speculation in the Premier County that coach Eamon O'Shea may be unable to commit in 2011 due to work commitments, but O'Neill has declared that he is available and ready for next season.
O'Neill, a former Kildare county minor footballer, said: "It's too early at this point for all decisions to be made. In general terms, and from speaking to a lot of people, everybody is very much interested in staying on, but there is a protocol or a due process to take place.
"That will start with the management team and filter down to the backroom. Until that becomes official, there's not a huge amount more than I could offer. But if everything stays the way it is, I would love to be involved again, there's no question. I wouldn't dream of moving anywhere, if that was the desire of the county board and the management."
The 2010 management team and backroom staff are due to meet next week, with County Board officials keen to tie them down for at least another season.
It is hoped that O'Shea, a professor of Economics at NUIG, will continue, but at this point in time, his future intentions are shrouded in doubt.
O'Shea, should he depart, would be a massive loss to the set-up as he is a revered figure among the players.
O'Neill admitted that he has no idea about O'Shea's plans, but admitted that the Kilruane McDonagh's clubman and former Tipp senior player is one of the finest coaches he has worked with.
O'Neill remarked: "I've no idea to be perfectly honest. That's something I'm sure Eamon can talk about himself.
"The coach is the vital cog in any set-up in terms of what happens in training. The manager, the buck stops with him, but in Eamon's case, he's a step above most coaches I've ever worked with. He's a huge influence on the team and what happens at training. Hopefully, he'll be staying on this year and there won't be any issue."
There has also been speculation within Tipperary that Declan Fanning may announce his retirement from inter-county hurling before the new season, but O'Neill insisted that all panel members are capable of launching another major assault on the big prize.
He said: "From a physical point of view, I wouldn't expect anyone to move on, but I can't legislate for what happens behind closed doors with family, kids and so on. But the panel that finished last season are capable of going on, each and every one of them, for another year, and maybe more."