Friday 16 November 2018

English: It's backs to the wall now for Tipp

Former Tipp hurler Nicky English, Garvey’s Group chairman Tomás Garvey, broadcaster Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh, IT Tralee foundation chairman Dick Spring, former Kerry footballer Jack O’Shea and Joanne O’Riordan with St Pius X BNS pupils Taylor Rice (l) and Sam Monaghan at the launch of a gala dinner to honour the broadcasting legend. Photo: Sportsfile
Former Tipp hurler Nicky English, Garvey’s Group chairman Tomás Garvey, broadcaster Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh, IT Tralee foundation chairman Dick Spring, former Kerry footballer Jack O’Shea and Joanne O’Riordan with St Pius X BNS pupils Taylor Rice (l) and Sam Monaghan at the launch of a gala dinner to honour the broadcasting legend. Photo: Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Participation in a league final may be bad for Tipperary's early championship health if recent results are anything to gauge by.

Last Sunday's loss to Limerick in the Gaelic Grounds was the fourth consecutive defeat they have suffered in the immediate aftermath of a league final loss. It followed losses to Limerick in 2013 and 2014 and Cork last year, games that were next up after league finals against Kilkenny (2013 and 2014) and Galway in 2017.

It's a strange anomaly that fuelled former All-Ireland-winning player and manager Nicky English's observation yesterday that they are a "lifetime" struggling to recover immediately from bad results.

"You'd say getting to them (league finals) is what you would want to do and becoming holed below the water line in the league final has been a problem for us," he said.

"This is the second year in a row that it has happened. The performance in the league final last year versus the performance in the semi-final against Galway, closed the gap from 16 points to one point. In the first game after the league final against Cork, we didn't really turn the ship, it took us a while to build it back again."

English feels it will be "tough to turn it around" after another defeat to Limerick with so many question marks over team selection that a seven-day time-frame may not be sufficient in which to address it.

"Typically, it takes Tipperary a little while to recover after a defeat. You hear a lot of talk afterwards. Mick (Ryan) not talking to the media afterwards didn't help the situation. I know he has redressed that situation and that's no harm but he has made things more difficult for himself. It was a mistake.

"In fairness, Mick has been big enough to come out and say that and redress it and just move on from there. It's a difficult situation because a lot of the players that they would want to come back are still struggling with injury, not fully fit. Really, it's backs to the wall on Sunday.

"It will be tough because Cork are good and the form from last year was Cork beat Tipperary last year so, the difficulty for Tipp is that they don't have a settled team." Ryan spoke to Tipp FM yesterday morning, outlining his reasons for not speaking to the media after the game but admitting that the policy is no longer in place for the round robin games.

"We took that decision in light of the fact that we were facing four Sundays in a row and what we don't do is factor in that we're going to lose a match. We're always very positive about our upcoming games but in the aftermath of the match, and after a loss, we should have reviewed that," he told the station.

English disputes whether tactics are at the core of Tipp's last two defeats with too much emphasis on long deliveries that don't always pay dividends.

"In hurling, momentum is momentum. Everyone wants good ball into the forwards but if you are on the back foot and travelling backwards? In fairness to Limerick, they were able to turn Ronan and Pádraic Maher numerous times.

Bedrock

"The foundation and the bedrock for Tipperary are the Mahers in the half-back line and getting a grip there and they couldn't achieve that on Sunday. They were always under pressure. I'm not sure how much of it is tactics and how much is momentum," he said.

"I would prefer Pádraic at seven and Ronan at six or even nine. But the key to it now, after the league final defeat and last Sunday, is that we don't have a settled, structured team. If it can be redressed and if we get back and beat Cork it will be right. But it's a big ask."

Asked about his team selection that saw five debutants against Limerick, Ryan said they based everything on training form.

"If anyone has been watching our progress throughout the league, they will have seen that we are constantly trying to expand our panel and give real opportunities to as many players as we possibly can. Fellas get opportunities based on their performances in our training games.

"It has always been the case that (when) you put debutants on the pitch and it is a bit like parenting, you worry about them and hope they'll be okay and it's never the guys you worry about that give a performance below what you want."

Nicky English was a guest at the launch of a gala tribute dinner to legendary broadcaster Micheál ó Muircheartaigh which will take place in the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road, Dublin on Saturday, September 22 to raise funds for the Kerry Sports Academy currently under construction at IT Tralee where ó Muircheartaigh holds a fellowship.

Irish Independent

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