Eoin Kelly: Forget the League, we’ll see the real Tipperary on Sunday

The Premier County’s legendary All-Ireland winning captain has his say on Liam Sheedy’s return to the Championship and the game against old rivals Cork.

Cork’s Seamus Harnedy called it right about the Munster Championship these days, it’s a lottery!

There’ll be five teams there hopping off each other. But, Liam Sheedy will do whatever it takes to win with Tipperary. That’s just his style.

He has a nice mix of experience and younger guys from last year’s successful under-21s available to him now, and he didn’t have that earlier in the year. Sheedy was snookered in the National League with Tipp’s youngsters, they  were genuinely injured and that’s why we didn’t get to see them in action.

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That’s a testament to the heavy workload in training they’ve done. I remember when Liam Sheedy got his hands on us in the winter of 2007, the training in November and December was horrific!

It was building you for the next three or four seasons, not just the short-term.

It was about putting down a marker in lads’ heads saying, ‘this is different’. That this is the Sheedy regime and it’s as serious and professional as you’re going to get.

Tipperary may have went out at the quarter-final stage of the League, but that was no harm really. In a lot of the League games where they were beaten (Limerick aside) they lost by just a point.

I’m expecting a bounce out of them in the Munster Championship.

Time will tell all, but I definitely believe Tipp are in a better state of mind.

Older stars are still Premier Quality

People ask are Tipperary getting old as a team? The thing with these guys is, they’re only 28, 29 or 30. If the lads were around 33, 34, that would be a different thing!

Take Patrick and Brendan Maher, they are two of the fittest guys Sheedy has got on the panel. So, I don’t think there’s any trouble there.

Bonner Maher, when you talk about men to train, there is no better than him.

Then you have Brendan Maher, he’s back from a cruciate ligament injury. He’s 30 and look at how he’s got himself back in shape. He’s flying fit again!

So, the five or six guys Liam Sheedy has around that 30 mark are probably as good as GAA professionals as you’re going to get. They’ll all have big roles to play and they’re still influential players, but you can only answer that question in the Munster Championship.

Based on the hurt of last year, I believe Tipperary should be one of the teams that it’ll progress from the Munster Championship.

Páirc life

If Tipperary can get any kind of result out of the Cork game, it’s really going to stand to them.

It’s going to put Cork on the back foot, because they have to go to Limerick the week after and Tipp have a home game in their next one.

Even a draw, like last time, will set them up for a great Munster Championship.

It’s going to be interesting to see what way the Páirc Uí Chaoimh pitch is, but I’m sure they’ve got it right for the game.

Tipperary beat Cork down there by 13 points in the League. There certainly won’t be that much of a gap this time around, but that will just give Tipp a bit of confidence and I’m expecting them to hit the ground running.

Sheedy has the full deck of cards to pick from going in and he’ll be very happy having managed that correctly.

You can train your arse off, with all body contact and physical training, but if you look to the sideline and you’ve three or four of your main guys injured, what good it is?

That’s part of the new structure, and now it’s an element of an intercounty manager’s job to get your top players on the pitch. Sheedy is going to have that come Sunday.

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What do you think?