'I'm just thrilled for the players, they're a marvellous bunch of young men'

Liam Cahill lauded his Tipperary All-Ireland winners after tonight’s victory.

A jubilant Tipperary U20 hurling manager Liam Cahill.
A jubilant Tipperary U20 hurling manager Liam Cahill.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

FOR THE THIRD time in four seasons Liam Cahill is savouring an All-Ireland victory as Tipperary manager.

A minor triumph in 2016, U21 glory in 2018 and now U21 success in 2019 to add to the collection. The latest victory was clinched to round off a joyous week for the county’s hurling fraternity after last Sunday’s senior conquest in Croke Park.  

It was achieved in some style as well as they swept past Cork, a double clinched similar to the county’s achievement in 2010.

And as Tipperary’s underage stars get set to move to the senior ranks, Cahill hopes that the expectation levels surrounding them will be kept in check.

“There are some players in there now who have minor, U20, U21, and senior All-Irelands. And, you know what, they’re still only 20 years of age.

“It’s very volatile. They’ve achieved a lot very young, so it’s case of them keeping their wits about them. Please God they will step up to senior, which the majority of them will, it’s about managing that and making sure they don’t get ahead of themselves.

“We’ve been known to do that in Tipp down the years. I hope this won’t be a repeat of 2010.”

“Thrilled for the players, really, they put in a super performance. They were true to their word when we put our thoughts together over the last couple of weeks. The last week has been phenomenal.

“I knew by the way they were training. Like Tuesday night, Jerome (Cahill), Paddy (Cadell) and Jake (Morris) came back and they were hopping off the sod. Fellas that had won a senior All-Ireland two days previously.

“It was just an absolute credit to them, they came with real intent last Tuesday night. We played 12 or 14 minutes of a match and it was as good a quality as I’ve ever seen.
I said if these fellas are beat Saturday I’ll throw my hat at it. It’s easy say that I suppose when you win, but that’s the feeling I had.

“I’m just thrilled for the players, they’re a marvellous bunch of young men. They just absolutely embrace everything we’re about.”

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tipperary-celebrate-after-the-game Tipperary players celebrate after the game. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

If Cahill was in the spotlight as manager, he was keen that plaudits were shared with his coaching sidekick Mikey Bevans.

“He’s not a man that looks for attention or media recognition but the performance of Mikey Bevans over the last couple of years has been great. I’ve been very fortunate to meet this man.

“We played a little bit together at county level underage. Just to meet this man on my travels five years ago was just the luckiest day I ever had. I’m just thrilled for him. You see the way those lads are so ruthless and the gameplan and the match-ups we had.”

Only eight minutes had elapsed and yet Tipperary had already chalked up four goals. They couldn’t have dreamed of a better opening.

“I’ve never had as good a start as that. We had the minor semi-final up in Croke Park a couple of years ago where we scored seven goals. A lot of this team were probably on the tail of that panel. We had the nucleus in Jake, Jerome, Paddy and them guys playing.

“All-Ireland final day, you dream of starts like that. But, as I said, without sounding anyway arrogant in any way shape or form, they were giving me all them vibes all the week leading up to the match.”

Tipperary had an array of leading performers but it was full-forward Billy Seymour who stole the show as he claimed the man-of-the-match award with a return of 2-5.

“Billy and I have a real love-hate relationship,” laughed Cahill.

“Billy is a great young fella. I’ve thrown an awful lot of stuff at Billy over the last couple of years. He’s been pottering around with me, on and off teams. But I’m absolutely thrilled to see him mature into the man I knew he could be.

“I hope he embraces it now and kicks on because he’s a fine player. I’m thrilled for him. I told him he’d get man-of-the-match award if he went about his business properly and I’m thrilled for him.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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