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Dublin: 5 °C Tuesday 18 February, 2020

Eamon O'Shea: more important things in life than winning

The Premier County boss was philosophical about another defeat to the Cats.

Brian Cody with Tipperary manager Eamon O'Shea after the game.
Brian Cody with Tipperary manager Eamon O'Shea after the game.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

HIS TIPPERARY PLAYERS may struggle to accept the notion but Eamon O’Shea insists there are ‘more important things’ than victory and defeat.

The Tipp manager said that he and his players were naturally ‘shattered’ after losing to Kilkenny at the second attempt in this year’s All-Ireland final.

But he paid a rich tribute to those players in his dressing-room whom he insisted can look anyone in the eye and state that they gave it their all, something he suggested that is more important than trophies and medals.

“I know when you come up here you’re expected to win, I’m not trying to minimise that,” said O’Shea. “We came up to win, we just didn’t win. But I do think there are more important things, I really do.

“The important things are that I have a dressing-room of men, who fought the battle to the end, who didn’t flinch when thing didn’t go their way.

“And yet the team kept going. That’s my understanding of sport, that sometimes you don’t always win but when Tipp play now, we really try until it’s no longer possible and I think they can be proud of that.

“They’re shattered that we didn’t win, so am I. And that’s what you’re involved in it for, to win. But it doesn’t take away from what I think was a supreme effort on our part.”

Tipp were down by six points against Galway at one stage in the second-half of their All-Ireland qualifier tie and staring a fifth consecutive championship match defeat in the face.

But they rallied from there and came within a foot or so of winning the All-Ireland when John O’Dwyer sent an injury-time free just wide in the drawn game.

“My belief is that we have left the championship a better place,” said O’Shea. “We worked really hard to get ourselves up to what we consider to be a top level. We achieved it to the level we wanted in probably one game.

“But I can’t tell you how hard the team worked to try to be the best they could. It doesn’t come out in results and you can’t report it and it doesn’t turn up in a score line. But in terms of what the team really did try to do, I can only say that from my involvement with them, they certainly are a credit to sport.”

Ref justice?

The 2010 All-Ireland winning coach under Liam Sheedy said he was at a loss to explain the crushing defeat, admitting that his team simply weren’t able to replicate the form they showed in the drawn game three weeks earlier.

He refused to blame referee Brian Gavin, staying he had no issues with his handling of the game and opted not to attack authorities for making penalties more difficult to score in light of taking just 0-1 from a possible 0-9 over two games.

“We battled really hard to stay in the game and operated off bits and pieces but the critical thing was that they played the game on their terms, which is the right thing to do,” he said. “And we couldn’t seem to open it up as we did the last day and that’s credit to them.”

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Paul Keane

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