Wednesday 21 August 2019

Eoin Kelly answers Tipperary call as Derek McGrath open to return

Eoin Kelly, Tipperary
Eoin Kelly, Tipperary
Liam Sheedy. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Tipperary hurling boss Liam Sheedy has moved to bolster his backroom team by bringing in former star Eoin Kelly, while former Waterford manager Derek McGrath has left the door open for a return to inter-county management in the near future.

Kelly, the county's leading scorer in the history of the championship, has already joined Liam Sheedy's setup on a number of occasions this year. He has been working with the Premier County's free takers as they ramp up preparations for their Munster SHC opener against Cork in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday week.

Successful

The Mullinahone star is another link to Tipperary's All-Ireland final win of 2010. Kelly captained that team, which stopped Kilkenny's drive for five, while Sheedy was the manager.

Eamon O'Shea was part of the successful setup that year too, and he's involved once more in an advisory capacity.

Elsewhere, McGrath is enjoying his first season out of the inter-county game after five years in charge of the Déise, but he is open to a return to the county stage in the future, even within his native province.

The Waterford-based teacher said: "I wouldn't rule anything out."

"I wouldn't rule anything out. Traditionally a lot of the Munster counties don't go outside the county for a manager. I'm not here to audition for a managerial job but I wouldn't rule anything out because I love it, I love it, I love it."

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McGrath revealed he turned down a number of opportunities to work behind the scenes in other setups.

"I don't think I'd ever fit into the category of being an advisor to anybody. You know you often see the category of 'advisor.'

"I think when a team is winning, the advisor, you are nearly the manager, but when the team is losing you are only an advisor, you are not really anything to do with it - the kind of cute category of people that are kind of advisors to teams. So I don't think I'll ever fit into that bracket.

"I've had a few offers in that role, if you like, but I'd have to be all-in. And to be ready to be all-in again I think you have to have everything balanced.

"You have to improve on what you did with Waterford, you have to improve on how you did it. If you had a different set of players, would you go about it a different way?

"So I think I'll spend a year or two trying to get better at it but without messing my mind up at the same time, trying to relax at the same time.

"Yes, I'll wait, I suppose, for an opportunity. I'm not auditioning for a job or canvassing for a job here but I'll wait and I'll watch.

"Like I watched the Waterford job for about three years before I went for it. I watched it. I was managing De La Salle, we won the championship in 2012, we got beaten in the Munster club final.

"I felt I was ready to go for it. I ignored people saying to me 'wait until the Bennetts and Patrick Curran and them are 22 or 23, which they are now.

"So I went for it at an age when I suppose I was advised not to go for it. I enjoyed every second of it, despite what people may have thought."

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