Sunday 26 January 2020

Sheedy's men show true colours

Jamesie O'Connor watched Tipp's first steps on road to recovery

The rehabilitation for Tipperary has started. They were desperately disappointing against Cork and there was serious soul-searching in the dressing room in the wake of that defeat.

The benefit of the qualifier system from Tipperary's perspective is that it has afforded them time to assess where they went wrong and what they needed to do going forward.

There is still too much talent in this Tipp team for them not to be serious All-Ireland title contenders. The benefit of these qualifier games is that they allow some of the players, particularly the forwards, to find form and regain some of the confidence that they consistently played with last season.

Pádraic Maher and Noel McGrath, in particular, looked to have the spring back in their step in Thurles yesterday, something that was certainly missing at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in the Cork game. Wexford had to work much harder than Tipperary for their scores and minus 'Gizzy' Lyng, their best player, it was always going to be an uphill struggle.

Up 15-7 at half-time, Tipperary killed the game off two minutes into the second half with two Eoin Kelly points and two Lar Corbett goals. From there until the finish, it was just a question of how big the margin was going to be.

David Young had an excellent game, with three points from play at wing-back, and Gearóid Ryan can be happy with his contribution at wing-forward. Patrick Maher showed his inexperience, but he is worth persisting with and these games will bring him on.

Elsewhere, doubts still remain about the Tipperary full-back line and Liam Sheedy may still have work to do to settle on his optimum starting 15. But they look like certainties to make the quarter-finals and they will be the team the losing provincial finalists will want to avoid. In fairness, Wexford battled gamely until the end but they simply don't have enough high-quality players coming through.

Sunday Independent

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