'Every time I hear him talk it's negativity about a Tipp player' - Corbett hits back at Babs Keating

The hurling legend also addressed the difficulty he had with his hamstrings and the genius of Eamon O’Shea.

TIPPERARY LEGEND LAR Corbett last night hit back at comments made by his former county boss Babs Keating to extend an off-season war of words in the Premier County.

Lar Corbett Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Keating last week claimed that Corbett ‘never trained with’ the senior county setup for ‘two or three years’ after he came to the manager citing medical advice.

Speaking to Off The Ball last night, Corbett responded to Keating’s criticism with some barbs of his own.

“Anything that he said in front of the dressing room when I was listening, it just didn’t sound legit, didn’t sound real, didn’t sound believable,” the Thurles man said on Newstalk.

I would have said ‘when the chips are down, I don’t think he’s going to back me.’ I’d love to find a player in that dressing room to say otherwise. I think you’d find it hard.”

“He won three All-Irelands on the field, two as a manager, that’s a fantastic achievement. But every single time that I hear him talk it’s negativity about a Tipperary player so it’s tough to listen to. Plus we were the laughing stock then for the few years.

“It was great for other teams looking in saying: ‘Jaysus, Babs is a right lad, some craic.’

“It’s alright when you’re looking in, but try looking out!

Michael Babs Keating Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

“When you’re serious about something and trying to take on probably the best team of all time and you’re a laughing stock, you’re not going to win much.”

Corbett makes light of Keating’s suggestions that he ‘never’ trained by pointing to an All-Ireland quarter-final that the manager deemed him fit enough to start. However he doesn’t shy away from the fitness struggles he endured midway through the noughties.

“The hamstrings were definitely at me for a few years, but I always said; ‘if I could run from A to B as fast as I can, then I can get through a game’.

Training was tough, I was always pulling my hamstrings.

“At the end of 2007, Liam Sheedy brings in John Casey as physio, I’m working one to one with him on a daily basis and building the confidence slowly.

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Eamon OÕShea and Lar Corbett dejected after the game Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“The year before (I was working with) Gary Ryan – he’s with Tipp now, Thurles Sarsfields at the time – he was an Olympic sprinter in 2000; all these small things helped in building my confidence.”

With his legs on the right track, Corbett’s confidence really took an upswing under another new manager. And his form duly followed as he began a prolific run of scoring that would see him end his inter-county career with 29 goals.

“Very, very simple: Eamon O’Shea. That’s where the goal-scoring came from.”

If I thought I understood how to be a forward and knew how to create movement, when I met Eamon O’Shea, I knew I didn’t. I knew I was starting from scratch.

“Every time I met Eamon for the first couple of years he would have left your mind thinking.

“To me, he was the one that got me to move as an individual but got everybody else to move collectively together then as well. He was the mind behind every time I made a run, why did I make a run. He’d challenge your mind ever time.

“He’d challenge your mind so much, that he’d come up with a scenario and you might have to think about it for a couple of days before getting back to him.”

Listen to the full interview with Lar Corbett on Off The Ball here.

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