Thursday 19 September 2019

'He told me some home truths' - How a blunt meeting with Liam Sheedy turned 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer's season around

Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy congratulates John O'Dwyer as he leaves the field after being substituted late in the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 2 match between Tipperary and Waterford at Semple Stadium, Thurles in Tipperary. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy congratulates John O'Dwyer as he leaves the field after being substituted late in the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 2 match between Tipperary and Waterford at Semple Stadium, Thurles in Tipperary. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

John 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer has credited Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy with helping turn his season around as the Premier county claimed an emphatic All-Ireland final victory.

O'Dwyer notched 1-2 in a comprehensive 14-point win over Kilkenny in Croke Park, after starring earlier in the summer as Tipperary turned on the style during their Munster championship round robin campaign.

It is O'Dwyer's second All-Ireland medal with Tipperary, having also won in 2016, and while he has gone through periods of sustained excellence, consistency hasn't always been his hallmark.

Speaking after Sunday's triumph, Bubbles revealed that a frank discussion with Liam Sheedy early in the year helped propel him to All-Ireland glory.

"Liam brought a big backroom with him," O'Dwyer said.

"I had an operation at the start of the year. It kind of held me back last year a small bit, but that's not an excuse. I just wasn't good enough to get onto the team. Liam came back and he told me a few home truths at the start of the year and I worked a lot with the S&C team.

"It was just about getting that base fitness, that was basically it. It's not just a personal thing, the team as a whole, we all did it together, we went through thick and thin together and that was the most pleasing part.

"Personally, it's good to win, to play but there's 39 other players in the squad. Just collectively it's brilliant for us." 

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Just like in 2016, a second half barrage overwhelmed the Cats and handed Tipperary victory. O'Dwyer said that the work-rate shown by his team was crucial in getting on top after the break.

"This is my second All-Ireland and it’s after taking us three years to get back again, so they are moments that you cherish. It probably looked comfortable because they went down to 14 men, but it wasn’t.

"After we got our second goal, Kilkenny came with a bit of a barrage. They attacked into the full-forward line with TJ Reid there. It wasn’t simple. The scores didn’t come too easy, like. We worked hard.

"That was one of our pillars, to work hard and make sure that just because they were down to 14 men that we didn’t take our foot off the pedal.

"I suppose 2016 was my first. Your first, you’re always going to cherish it that bit more. But having the ability to come back and win another one is a different kind of feeling."

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