Thursday 23 November 2017

Kieran McGeeney has had 'massive' influence on me - Seamus Callanan

Tipperary sharpshooter Seamus Callanan with his Opel Hurler of the Month award for August at Liffey Valley in Dublin yesterday
Tipperary sharpshooter Seamus Callanan with his Opel Hurler of the Month award for August at Liffey Valley in Dublin yesterday

Seamus Callanan bowed out of this year's championship with Tipperary but did so with an already sterling reputation enhanced.

At the announcement of the Opel GPA/GAA player of the month awards for August, Callanan was the clear winner given his three-goal, five-star performance in the All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Galway.

It was the second successive year that he had been to the fore for Tipperary with a second All-Star sure to follow later this year.

It's been a long road since he was forced to sit on the bench for the minor final of 2006 when his Tipp side halted Joe Canning's bid for a third All-Ireland title at the grade.

He's driven on since then. When asked about his recent upturn in form and development into one of the most feared forwards in the game, he cites the influence of both outgoing Tipperary manager Eamon O'Shea and former Armagh All-Ireland-winning captain Kieran McGeeney.

"I put a lot of it down to - obviously I put in a lot of hard work in pre-season," Callanan explained.

"A lot of players or people looking in might think the league isn't important but for the last few years I really treated it as my opportunity to play and get better and get fitter and get my confidence up.

"So instead of targeting the first round of the Munster Championship I was targeting week by week what I could do to get the best out of myself in every league game.

"That's one of the things I used - using the early part of the season as a platform for the rest of the year for myself.

"Eamon instilled an awful lot of confidence in me by putting me on the frees, which gave me responsibility that I like to think I thrive on."

McGeeney's background is in sports performance and that has aided his growth too.

"I worked with Kieran a good bit, outside of the training on a personal level," he said.

"Kieran is very good and you'd have massive respect for someone who's had the career that Kieran had, the experience of the man and the knowledge of the man. He knows best, he's gone through what you're going through.

"He was a massive benefit to me and gave me great confidence and a great sense that I could work on my own visualisation and mentality towards what's going on. It was very, very helpful."


The wounds, both physical and mental, are still healing for Callanan from the defeat to Galway. He's keen not to make too much of the crunching tackle that John Hanbury put in on him to deny him a goalscoring opportunity but marks remain.

"I'm still actually getting physio on the neck," he revealed.

"I'm getting bad pains in my head. Maybe I shouldn't have taken the penalty but I was in a bit of form there and things were working out well for me. Yeah, it was very sore. Still is.

"There probably was (some concussion). I didn't do anything for two weeks after it as regards club training.

"Just as a precaution I got an MRI scan on it and thankfully nothing came through out of that. I'm just resting it, minding it and being careful."

The tackle prompted much discussion and Callanan agrees that teams are willing to go further to prevent goal chances. However, he doesn't want to see a black card or equivalent rule brought into hurling.

"Last line of defence and someone is going through, I think people are more aware of being cynical and stopping that ... because obviously a goal is massive.

"It's more than three points, it's more a mental thing as well. So I'm sure look, all full-back lines are well aware of it and I'll be hoping our full-back line are aware of it too.

"I don't think I would (like to see a black card introduced) really. I'm not making an issue of that tackle, I've never thought about that tackle to be honest with you.

"I've just thought about us losing the game, that tackle meant nothing to me in the bigger scheme of things. We weren't in an All-Ireland final where we wanted to be and that's what matters."

Irish Independent

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