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O'Shea: Ace Callanan's superb scoring form has been 18 months in the making

HE sits level with TJ Reid (49 points), well short of Antrim's Paul Shiels (67) who made bales of hay in the Leinster preliminary round, but Seamus Callanan's numbers are, upon closer analysis, even more impressive than that.

The Tipp star's 5-34 this summer averages out at 12.25 points per game, miles above even Shiels (9.6) and just in front of the now departed Shane Dowling (12).

Which, for a free-taker, having feasted upon the carcass of Offaly hurling or the remains of Dublin, and in a forward line as potentially explosive as any in the game, might not be that remarkable.

Except his bounty from play; 5-8, is also the largest average in the Championship (5.75).

"It's very important for a player that he fits into the system," says his manager, Eamon O'Shea.

"He has to score but he also has to work hard on all the things that you would expect any forward to do.

"Our forwards are trying to work really hard to contribute to the whole system and I think he does that.

"He has been really good this year at that. I know he has scored a lot and worked hard for us when we were struggling in the league.


"But he has been working towards this for the last 18 months," O'Shea points out.

"I know there was a hiccup or two last year but he has been working towards this for the last while.

"Seamus was outstanding for us in 2009 and 2010. Consistency is what you are looking from a really top player, consistency over a range of games where you make a judgement over a period of time.

"What he has brought to his game is consistency and on any given day you would expect him to play well.

"He was a young players in 2008, 2009 and 2010, all young players have their ups and downs, what he is looking at now is more consistency in his game and that's good for him.

He adds, however: "I never worry too much about who is scoring the goals or who is at the end of them.

"To me the structure is important and the six forwards, I am not trying to downplay the importance of having a marque forward...but the importance is trying to understand what were are doing here in terms of the team and the movement of the ball.


"Whoever puts it in the net is irrelevant to me, we would never show on video the man scoring the goal, it's irrelevant."

That there will be just three of the all-singing, all-dancing starting front six from the 2010 All-Ireland final starting against Cork on Sunday just shows how important Callanan has become.

Only 'Bonner' Maher - of the trio - can claim to be more vital to this side's well-being.

Lar Corbett, another of the aforementioned, is back but hardly bound to reach into his 2010 Hurler of the Year and the other, Noel McGrath, hasn't quite done it yet either.

"I don't need to tell ye how talented he is.

"He's exceptionally talented," O'Shea insists.

"There are times when we ask are we pushing him around too much.

"But ultimately, all we're trying to do is get the man into the game, to have as big an influence on any game that he possibly can.

"The amount of ball that could flow through Noel, a lot of it can be unseen," O'Shea adds.

"Noel is a hugely important part of what we do, and he brings an intelligence to our play."