Saturday 24 March 2018

Sheedy offers no excuses for Tipp's capitulation

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

IF the first step towards solving a problem is to acknowledge its existence, Liam Sheedy had taken it even before he left Cork.

He could have offered explanations or excuses for Tipperary's worst championship performance in a long time but instead he opted to take the hit and move on.

"Cork wanted it more than us. We were overran, we were outplayed. We felt that the preparations had gone well but we never really got firing," he said.

It was all so different for his Cork counterpart, Denis Walsh, who had witnessed his side zoom up the All-Ireland ratings.

There had been a degree of scepticism about Cork's rate of development after the League final defeat by Galway but clearly they had taken more from the campaign than was generally thought.

"We built up good momentum from the League and we kept it going today.

"We set out to take the initiative and we managed to do that," said Walsh.

"We kept things tight in defence and midfield and when the scoring chances came, the forwards took them."

However, he moved quickly to prevent the hype machine going into overdrive, pointing out that it was only the start of the campaign and that the challenge now was to repeat the performance next time out against Limerick in the semi-final. Most people will regard it as a foregone conclusion against a severely depleted Limerick team but Walsh was being careful nonetheless.

"It will be a completely different ball game because our lads won't be as familiar with the Limerick players. That's always the challenge at this time of the year," he said.

The challenge facing Tipperary is totally different but Sheedy predicts they will be ready for it.

"Look back at last year. We came out of Nowlan Park (after losing heavily to Kilkenny) and people wondered would we be able to get back up on the horse again.

"In fairness to this group of players, they've experienced this before but their real strength and character will be tested to the limit over the next number of weeks.

"It's a bad day for us but the season is still alive and we have to make sure we keep it that way," he said.

It couldn't be more alive or vibrant for Cork after what was as sweet a victory as they enjoyed for quite some time.

"It was a very important game for us as men, as a group together," said Cork goalkeeper Donal Og Cusack.

"Maybe it was said beforehand that a lot of these guys are pushing on a bit, and it was just very, very important to us and we put it up to ourselves that everything was going to be on the line today."

Irish Independent

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