Eoin Kelly: I’m not demanding an All-Ireland from Tipperary this year

Tipperary’s legendary forward Eoin Kelly gives his take on his county’s new manager and his attitude to the press ahead of the new season…

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The result against Clare in the Munster Senior Hurling League final has kind of dampened expectations and that might be a blessing in disguise for Tipperary.

I wouldn’t have a very high expectation of them this year and won’t pressure them to win an All-Ireland.

Mainly because it’s Liam Sheedy’s first season and he’s trying to blend under 21s into the squad and then into the starting team.

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Could Tipp win an All-Ireland in 2019? Yes, they could.

However, the way the Championship is structured is so tough and I reckon Cork’s Seamus Harnedy described it best when he said “it’s a lottery”.

Tipp will make the knockout stages, but I wouldn’t install them as favourites.

I wouldn’t put that weight on them as it’s ‘Year One’ for Liam Sheedy.

I certainly wouldn’t be demanding an All-Ireland from Tipperary straight away. It’s a very hard ask.

Fortress Semple Stadium

Tipperary’s form in Thurles isn’t a problem and I’m sure Liam Sheedy will want to turn Semple Stadium into a fortress.

Sheedy will really focus on winning his home games in the League and the Championship.

He’ll want to give the Tipp support something to cheer about and I’d expect them to be very strong at home this year.

They’ll probably win the vast majority of their games in Semple Stadium.

When Liam Sheedy came in the first time in 2008, he brought in another level of professionalism and expertise to the Tipperary set-up.

He thought about the player of course, but he also thought about the person. Even in the last few years, we’ve seen that kind of stuff more and more from intercounty managers.

There’s more to GAA then just the talents of a player. Sheedy cares about his squad’s well-being outside of the game too.

He’ll bring the intensity and the drive back into Tipperary that we only saw in spurts last year.

He’ll also instill that in them for the whole 70/75 minutes of a match.

You’re not going to dominate every game obviously, but I reckon we’ll see Tipp go right to the wire in every one they play this season.

Premier communicator

My gut feeling when Brian Hogan didn’t speak to the media about Tipperary at the Fitzgibbon Cup launch was that it was taken out of context.

Going forward this year, Tipperary will be very open with the media.

Liam Sheedy’s been a pundit with RTE for a few years, so he won’t have a problem with players speaking to the media within reason.

What happened with Brian Hogan was an inexperienced player at a launch, and maybe he felt that he should only be talking about the Fitzgibbon Cup.

I don’t believe for one second it was a media ban, it was just blown out of proportion a small bit.

Liam Sheedy worked in the media over the last few years and I don’t believe he’ll ban players from talking to them.

Maybe the player was told not to say too much about Tipp and took it too much to heart.

That would be my hunch, I don’t believe he was sent to that launch to say there’s a media ban.

There must have been a breakdown in communication somewhere along the line.

I guarantee there’ll be no problem with Tipp and the media for the rest of the year. He’ll have learned from the fallout of what happened with Micheal Ryan last season as well. That’s just Liam Sheedy’s style.

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What do you think?