Eoin Kelly: Liam Sheedy will know Tipperary’s home form needs work

Tipperary hurling icon Eoin Kelly looks at his county’s surprise loss to Dublin and feels manager Liam Sheedy has some issues to iron out…

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Tipperary will be very disappointed that they’ve lost two home games out of the three they’ve played in the National League this season.

Liam Sheedy prides himself on winning home games and in the Championship home victories are absolutely crucial. You have to pick up the points in them or else you’re not going to advance.

With about 20/25 minutes to go, it looked like Tipperary could push on and win the game against Dublin. But, when they drew level it just seemed like Tipp didn’t have it in them to kick on and win it.

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Shadowboxing is clear to see

Maybe that was a bit of fatigue from the week before when they beat Cork and I have to say, the pitch in Semple Stadium was very heavy too. It was in a bad state after the game, but it was the same for both teams.

The big thing for Tipp though was they hit 18 wides and Dublin had a third of those. You can’t afford that may wides in intercounty hurling.

Dublin have sent out a serious message with that win though. They’ve sprinkled in a few of the Cuala boys who won back-to-back Club All-Irelands to great effect. They were probably the unluckiest team in the Championship last season not to be one of the six that qualify from the provincial groups.

Is it a coincidence that three teams from Division 1B ended up in the National League semi-finals? Teams seem to be a small bit fresher coming out of that side of the League.

It’s been a peculiar League campaign this year. You’d wonder are some managers overly-bothered that they’re not involved in the latter stages? Or are they worried about their teams’ form?

It’s intriguing to see how it will all pan out. There’s been a lot of shadowboxing going on, I’ll tell you that much.

Sheedy won’t be shy to fix Tipp’s issues

There was just over 3,500 people in Thurles, with it being a Saturday and the Wales v Ireland on before it, that probably took away from the crowd. But, there was definitely a bit of complacency there with the Tipp public and the team.

Remember, Dublin haven’t beaten Tipp in Thurles since 1946, and what happened the week before in Cork didn’t help that complacency either. That is a worry for Tipperary, when they have a good performance you wonder what they’re going to be like the next day out?

It can be hard for players to protect themselves from that subconscious complacency setting in because they’ll be meeting people all week telling them they should be beating Dublin handy. But from what I saw, you’d have to give Dublin serious credit too. They hit Tipperary early with scores on the board and made them chase the game.

There are a few things Liam Sheedy will want to look at now that the National League is finished.

Shot selection is certainly one of those and winning tight games will be the other one. Sheedy will already have identified those issues, he’s very good like that to see where his teams can improve.

It could even be something as small as sitting down and talking to the group about game management and when to push on. On the shot selection problem, he’ll look at if guys took on shoots from the right position against Dublin – the answer is probably not.

Consistency is key

Consistency of performance is what Liam Sheedy will be looking for now because we’ve shown flashes of brilliance. It might also be a plus for them to be fresher coming into Championship.

One plus from the League for Liam Sheedy is that he now has a settled team. He nearly has 12 or 13 of them that will line out in the first round of Championship.

I’d give Tipp’s League about a grade ‘C’, it’s been a real mixed bag if I’m honest.

They’ve given a couple of young players like Robert Byrne, Mark Kehoe and Jake Morris game time.

You have to remember they’ve had a lot of injuries and the Fitzgibbon Cup has got in their way. I’ve liked the look of Tipp at times in the League and it’s no harm that they are gone out of it now.

There’ll be no talk about them now and they can hit the ground running without that expectation come Championship time.

Harnedy appeal could decide Cork game

There was 13 points in the League game, but I can tell you this much, there will not be 13 points between Cork and Tipperary on May 12th. Cork will be highly motivated on their home patch.

The question for me is, will Seamus Harnedy be able to play for Cork?

He would be an awful loss for them. The entire Cork v Tipp game could hinge on the outcome of Harnedy’s appeal. He’s a key player for The Rebels, especially when they are going well.

I’d be quietly confident about Tipp in the Championship though. The next six weeks of training in Thurles will be hot and heavy.

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