Eoin Kelly: Tipp fans are desperate for Liam Sheedy to stay on

Super Sheedy has led us to the promised land again!

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Tipperary had a very slow start in Sunday’s All-Ireland final.

They went eight points to three down in dirty weather and a five-point lead in those conditions can be hard to claw back.

Niall O’Meara’s goal was the turning point though, it settled Tipperary down and they put a few scores on the board after that. That goal was crucial to Tipp being crowned All-Ireland champions.

I’ll admit I was a bit worried by Tipp’s sluggish start though, you were thinking Kilkenny had done the exact same thing to beat Limerick – by blitzing them at the beginning of the match.

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Tipp’s forwards didn’t seem to be getting any space from the Kilkenny defence.

Any time you score a goal in an All-Ireland final it’s special though, and it’s certainly something Niall will remember for a long, long time. That score got Tipperary motoring!

Kilkenny dropped their level after the sending off and that was the winning of the match for Tipp.

Red was correct, but we need clarity!

People are giving out about the referee James Owens sending Richie Hogan off, but I was impressed with how he took his time to walk over to the incident.

There was obviously lots of communication going on his earpiece.

He was listening to his linesmen and other officials. So, it wasn’t just a rash call from Owens.

He took his time to come to his decision with all the information available to him, is that not what we want from our referees?

But, we are going to have to clear up this issue of head-high tackles in the GAA – because a lot of them seem to be just yellow cards these days, when they should be reds.

Richie Hogan maybe was a bit unlucky to see red, but by the letter of the law, Owens was right to show one.

I wonder if he was told during the week that any challenges around the head must be a sending off?

Was that playing on his mind?

We need a lot more clarity on the rules here.

It was very silly of Richie Hogan to make that type of tackle in the first place though, he gave the referee a decision to make.

Looking back on it, it’s certainly an elbow to the head.  Obviously, you don’t want these things to ruin an All-Ireland final – but, these are the laws that we are operating under at the moment!

‘Common sense’ calls make no sense

When the game is over and Tipperary win by 14 points, it’s very easy for Kilkenny pundits to call for “common sense” over the Richie Hogan incident.

But, if the referee has been instructed to punish head-high challenges with a red card, he has to do what he’s told.

If that was the case though, that diktat should have been communicated to the teams involved as well – and it certainly wasn’t.

Maybe the referee could visit the dressing room before the game and inform the players that he’s going to be looking out for these kinds of incidents. You could see that James Owens really didn’t want to send Hogan off, but when he got word it was a dangerous head-high tackle he had no choice.

You hate to see anyone get sent off in an All-Ireland final, but when a rule is broken the referee has to do his job. Common sense doesn’t really come into that.

Barrett doesn’t go down easy

The Sunday Game lads have a job to do and Jackie Tyrell is entitled to his opinion, but the Tipperary doctor was straight in there because he was worried that Cathal Barrett was concussed.

That’s how hard he was hit.

You have to think about the welfare of the player that has been hit here too, not just the guy who was sent off.

Barrett is an instrumental part of Tipperary’s full-back line and when he went down, we were all hoping he was okay. Cathal is never one to go over lightly, and it clearly shows on the television pictures how much he was rocked by the elbow.

I can’t agree with what Jackie Tyrell was saying at all.

Second-half blitz

In the second half, Tipperary ensured that the game was played on their terms.

They created space inside the Kilkenny defence and they turned that into goals.

Tipp have been creating goal chances all year and it was great to see that continue on the biggest day of the year. When Kilkenny made that space in the first half they only got points and that was another key to Tipperary’s victory.

Once Tipp got their noses in front of the 14 men of Kilkenny, it was always going to be too much for Brian Cody’s lads to win.

Every time Kilkenny launched the ball, Tipp’s backs had an answer and gave the perfect pass into to forwards from their clearances.

Noel McGrath had 20 possessions in the second half alone, so it would be hard to take the Man of the Match award away from him. He was awesome and the good thing was – from a Tipperary point of view – that you could have picked four or five of them to be Man of the Match!

That just tells you how dominant they were, especially in that second half.

I’d agree with the call to give it to Noel though. Even in the first half when it was tight, he was still getting on the ball and trying to do the right thing with it

Sheedy has the county in tip-top shape

I was saving the last words of my column for Liam Sheedy. The Tipperary panel of players knew what they were getting when Liam Sheedy came back as at the start of the year.

The ultimate goal was the All-Ireland, but other counties even knew that Tipperary were going to be a force under Sheedy. Which they certainly were!

It’s easy to talk about these kinds of things, but Liam came back and he walked the walk.

Liam probably felt he had unfinished business with this group of Tipperary players and even after the disaster of last year, he knew that there was another All-Ireland in them – and he was proven right.

He’s a top-class manager and Tipperary are lucky to have him at the helm. He just does everything 110 per cent.

Tipperary supporters don’t want to see him going anywhere, that’s for sure. Tipperary hurling is in a healthy place again under him.

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* All odds correct at time of posting.

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