Saturday 24 February 2018

Defeat would be 'big setback' for Tipperary, insists former captain Kelly

Kelly: “If Tipp lose the Munster final, it would be a big setback,” Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Kelly: “If Tipp lose the Munster final, it would be a big setback,” Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Former All-Ireland-winning captain Eoin Kelly believes Waterford's need to win Sunday's Munster decider with Tipperary is greater given their recent record in finals.

The Mullinahone man led Tipp to Liam MacCarthy cup success in 2010 but suggests that having lost last year's Munster final as well as this year's league decider, Waterford need to win silverware to avoid picking up a reputation as a team that falls short on the big day.

"If Tipp lose the Munster final, it would be a big setback," he agreed.

"Probably Waterford would be able to recover a bit more from it because they could still fall back on the fact that they're a young team.

"But if they do lose it would be their third loss in a big final - the league final this year, Munster final last year, and now another Munster final - so that would be a lot of finals to lose and they could get that tag.


"But I think Tipp need to win this Munster final, going forward. They're at that age where they want success and they'd be better primed going in."

Kelly insists Tipp have everything in place to win an All-Ireland this year even if they shun the fashionable defensive set-ups in favour of a more orthodox systems.

"I don't think they ever will (deploy a sweeper). When Eamon O'Shea was there he was adamant that as long as he was there we'd never have a seventh defender.

"You'll go with your six, your two midfielders, maybe you'll bring out a half-forward. But the one thing about it is that you have to work your socks off. I thought Tipp done that the last day but in the past they haven't always done that.

"Kilkenny do it every day. Waterford seem to do it most days. When Tipp don't work and don't chase back, they become an average team. But when they work hard like they did with 14 the last day they're as good as the best.

"Definitely (they can win an All-Ireland) the way they're playing. If you look at Michael Breen there he's up and down that field. Paudie Maher too. They're all working hard and they're working for one another.

"I don't know if it's the brotherly love, but you have Ronan and Paudie (Maher) in the half-back line and John and Noel (McGrath) up front. They're really working hard for one another and it's good to see.

"You can have systems and all that, but if you don't bust a gut to get back then the system isn't worth anything. And Waterford are doing that, and Tipp are doing it this year as well."

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