Eoin Kelly: Bonner injury is a huge blow – but Sheedy always has a plan

Don’t worry Tipp fans, Liam Sheedy has it covered!

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Last Sunday was a real test in every way for Tipp, in physicality terms and how they want to play. It wasn’t as flamboyant as they have been in previous games.

I have to say the atmosphere was funny in the stadium afterwards though. Tipperary can only play what’s in front of them, what else can they do?

Did it come at a cost? Especially when you look at the injuries Tipp have picked up. The big thing for Tipp is to maintain that winning mentality and keep the momentum going.

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Shadow boxing was clear

No doubt about it – you’re going to see a different Limerick team in the Munster Final. Limerick still have loads of potential and they have a lot to offer this year yet. Limerick left off key players and that suggests they’re looking at a bigger picture here.

As it turns out, they’ve ended up in the Munster Final with Tipperary. But, even the Limerick supporters we’re saying “what’s going on here” when they saw the team that started.

There was definitely some shadow boxing going on.

The Munster Final and is set up nicely for Limerick now, especially as they are playing at home at the LIT Gaelic Grounds. It’s going to take a massive performance from Tipperary to overturn them there.

Having played against Limerick there in huge games, I know it’s a very, very hard place to come out of with victory. It’s possible, of course, but it’s a huge ask.

In the Munster Championship, these were the two teams who have really shown their physicality and intensity so far, and it’s right that they’ve ended up in the final.

Bonner horror

The form Bonner Maher was showing this year was brilliant, he really connects with the Tipperary team and the Tipperary supporters.

To see any player stretchered off is very worrying. We were all hoping it wasn’t going to be dreaded cruciate ligament injury, but unfortunately, it turns out he has done his ACL.

It’s a six to nine-month lay-off whatever way you look at it. Having had the injury myself, I know how tough it is to come back from.

But, it’s great to see that Liam Sheedy intends to keep him around the panel. It goes back to the last time he was in charge, he puts a big emphasis on making sure an injured guy is still a strong member of the squad.

He’ll certainly use Bonner in some capacity this year, Sheedy did that with James Woodlock when I was under him. Woodlock got an unmerciful injury in the county final, breaking his leg but Sheedy did not cast him aside. He was kept right in among the squad and that’s what he will do with Bonner Maher now.

Bonner was one of the guys in that Tipperary team that lead the way in work ethic and the rest of the side have now come up to that standard.

I’m sure the player that will fill Bonner’s boots will have to match what he does because that’s what’s required at this level.

Niall O’Meara and Dan McCormack have that robust edge to them too.

Sometimes, someone’s misfortune can lead to someone else’s fortune. Good managers – and Liam Sheedy fits that bill – are always prepared for this scenario.

Bonner is the kind of guy who’ll fight hard to come back from injury, he fits into that same category as Seamus Callanan and Brendan Maher. He has the same character as those guys. There’s no doubt in my mind that he will back in the Tipperary jersey because that’s his personality.

Munster medal still means everything

Firstly, for Limerick, when was the last time that they had the National League trophy, the Munster cup and Liam McCarthy sitting in the county board’s cabinet?

John Kiley is going to attack this and I’ve always said a Munster medal is a very prestigious one to have.

Tipperary are going to be gung-ho for a Munster title too! You never know when you’re going to get back to a final with a chance of silverware.

I’d still hold the Munster Championship up there in the same regard as a Celtic Cross. I know at the end of the season the All-Ireland is the ultimate prize, but winning a Munster title is still very special.

Liam Sheedy has managed Tipperary to two Munster Championships. When he was playing, he would have been involved with teams that were unsuccessful in winning a Munster. So, it’s something that as players you would die for, and that’s all the motivation you need.

 

I don’t care what you say, the less games you play the better chance you have of winning an All-Ireland.

Dublin are probably waiting for the loser. They’ve already beaten Tipperary and Galway in League and Championship. That’s a dangerous game, if you ended up with it.

If they go on to be Munster champions, you get an extra break. That gives hamstrings and any strains they’re going to get time to heal too.

The intensity and the physicality in the Munster final will be massive and Tipperary are going to have to bring that to get a victory against in Limerick. So, you might need that extra rest too.

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What do you think?