Tuesday 23 January 2018

Babs points finger at Tipp 'failures'

Jackie Cahill

IN AN angry outburst, former manager Michael 'Babs' Keating has written off Tipperary's All-Ireland prospects in the wake of Sunday's crushing Munster SHC defeat to Cork.

Keating insisted that last year's beaten All-Ireland finalists will not fancy the Qualifier route after falling to a 10-point defeat at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Keating, who failed to capture any silverware during his second spell in charge from 2005-07, launched another blistering attack on the current players, many of whom he managed prior to Liam Sheedy's appointment.

Sheedy masterminded successive Munster successes in 2008 and 2009, and Tipp also ran Kilkenny desperately close in last year's All-Ireland final, but Keating remains unconvinced and claimed that some players have "failed" Tipperary.


Speaking to TV3, Keating said: "If Tipp are to come through, they could have to meet Waterford, Galway and Kilkenny along the way. I don't think the players that have failed Tipperary over the last number of years will relish meeting them all.

"Having to face a couple of them will make life very tough for Tipperary."

Keating also launched a fresh defence of his tempestuous second term in charge, which saw him at odds with leading players like Brendan Cummins and Eoin Kelly.

"Decisions that myself, Tom Barry and John Leahy made managing the team four and five years ago, we made in the best interests of the people paying money and wearing the blue and gold going in the gate," he said.

During the 2007 campaign, Keating dropped both Cummins and Kelly and he reflected: "We made unpopular decisions but made those decisions in their (supporters') best interests.

"If Liam and his selectors sat down with us at that stage for a couple of hours, they need not necessarily have taken our ideas on board but he (Sheedy) could have taken a few short-cuts along the way and he would be in a better position today than he is."

Keating also took a veiled swipe at Sheedy when he spoke about Cork boss Denis Walsh's planning for Sunday's win, saying: "Denis Walsh has a history of winning All-Irelands -- he has that advantage over Liam Sheedy."

Keating once again stressed that Tipperary's half-forward division and midfield is not up to scratch and claimed that the personnel he worked with who are still playing for the Premier County did not heed the advice he had given them.

He said: "The half-forward line and midfield are not strong enough to match what's going to emerge -- that was proven in last year's All-Ireland.

"All the mistakes being made, we would have hammered those home night in, night out. Take the goal chance that Lar Corbett missed -- we missed three of those in last year's All-Ireland. Those guys did not take on board the advice that they were given.

"If (Pat) Fox or (Nicky) English got the opportunity that Lar Corbett got, it would have been a definite green flag. If Fox or English got the opportunity of three goals in last year's All-Ireland, they would be goals.

"They wouldn't be making heroes out of PJ Ryan or Donal Óg (Cusack).

"This is where the team is lacking. Until we get a grasp of that and what centre-field and half-forward play is about and add in what is typical Tipperary hurling, a good bit of steel, I don't think we're going to come back winning again."

Irish Independent

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