Tipp star banking on five-step plan
IT seems like it has been the stick to beat the Tipperary hurlers with for an age now.
The often-expressed view that the Premier County are a good half-forward line away from winning an All-Ireland title is still being bandied about, and Seamus Callanan, who is expected to anchor that unit of Liam Sheedy's side when they take on Cork in Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Sunday week, has heard enough.
"I definitely think its unfair, considering the three of us (Callanan, John O'Brien and Pat Kerwick) were nominated for All Stars last year and we're still 'the bad Tipperary half-forward line'," said the Drom and Inch clubman.
"I don't think it makes sense really, when you compare our scores in games to any other team. We'd be up there with them if not ahead of them, so I don't see where people get this obsession from.
"Maybe people want the old-style hurling but the way hurling has gone these days, it's gone so quick and fast that you can't afford just to have a man standing underneath the ball. You have to be moving the whole time. That's what we do, that's our game so what can you do?"
Tipp boss Sheedy left his panel open-ended for much of the league and added Brian O'Meara from Kilruane McDonaghs and Moneygall's Paddy Fanning to the squad as recently as three weeks ago, which Callanan believes helps keep everyone on their toes.
"Liam Sheedy is brilliant to give everyone a chance. He brings through a lot. There were good minor teams in Tipperary the last few years and he is bringing lads through and giving them a good chance.
"I think it is a great panel to be in with the mixture of youth and experience. You have Brendan Cummins and Eoin Kelly and you can't buy that experience."
Tipp caught the eye when hammering Dublin in a recent challenge match and the second year LIT Accounting and Finance student believes that everything is in place for the county to win their first Liam McCarthy cup since 2001.
"I don't think we are missing anything at all. I think that team we had last year was good enough to win an All-Ireland.
"I think on the day (last year) we came up a little bit short, but if we were playing any other team other than the great Kilkenny team we would have beaten them that day.
"It is hard to take when we played so well. But we had chances in that game, I had a chance for a goal and PJ Ryan made a great save, it was the same with Eoin Kelly. If we took them maybe we would be here as All-Ireland champions. They are the small things that change games. Hopefully this year we will get to put them right."
The first phase of their 'five-step programme' looms large on the horizon, with a revitalised Cork sure to provide a stern examination of their credentials on Leeside.
"It is going to be a tough game down in the lion's den. I am expecting a fierce challenge. They had a good league campaign. We were lucky enough to get through in our own backyard last year in Thurles. That was them after being on strike for a few months as well. They are together and united from the start of this year so they will be very tough to beat.
"We have a five-step programme. Five games, the first one against Cork. To win an All-Ireland we have to win five games.
"That is the way we are looking at and not talking about any other team. If we get ourselves right we are a good enough team to win the All-Ireland."