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Tipperary hurling boss Liam Sheedy.
Tipperary hurling boss Liam Sheedy.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

'We would feel that sometimes maybe our own fans would question our work ethic throughout the pitch'

Liam Sheedy is back in charge of Tipperary as the championship begins.
May 8th 2019, 11:56 AM 7,801 4

AS HE PREPARES for his return to the championship hotseat with Tipperary, Liam Sheedy has admitted that their supporters have questioned the the work ethic of their team and that they need that attribute to be a cornerstone of their performances.

Tipperary commence their Munster campaign on Sunday when they head to Páirc Uí Chaoimh to face Cork, eager to bounce back after a 2018 campaign that saw them fail to win a game in the province.

Sheedy is back in charge of Tipperary in a Munster tie for the first time since their loss to Cork at the quarter-final stage in 2010.

“We would feel that sometimes maybe our own fans would question our work ethic throughout the pitch, and that’s something we would show flashes of.

“But look, we’ve all listened behind the old stand and on that sideline and they do reward that honest endeavour. We have very, very skilful players, but it’s bringing that and complementing that with a really, really high work ethic and I think that’s where the bar is set in the Munster championship.

“There’s a serious work ethic required now to be competitive at the top level. I think the boys are prepared to a level to leave it all there on the pitch and I can’t ask any more of them.

“There’s not one thing I’d change in terms of their preparation, they’ve given it absolutely everything that’s been asked of them and they have been challenged every night they’ve come in.”

Sheedy is content with the level of support they have received from the Tipperary public.

“I can only speak of my involvement and any time I’ve been involved, they’ve come right in behind us.

“They don’t ask for much, in my view, they just want to see a really honest performance and that anyone who puts on that jersey understands what it means and the honour that goes with it to wear that jersey.

“So from that point of view I’ve no doubt that we’ll bring a big crowd to Cork. It’s somewhat in our own hands to generate that level of support and that all starts in Cork.”

Last August’s All-Ireland U21 triumph is something that Sheedy is hoping to harness with a bunch of talented youngsters brought into the Tipperary senior setup.

Colin English lifts the trophy Tipperary U21 players celebrate their All-Ireland final victory last August. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“The U21s had a great victory last year in the All-Ireland final. They turned around what was a nice beating in the Munster final. So, I suppose, having that winning mentality in their bag is a good place to be bringing them in.

“They make up a large part, nearly a third, of my panel so they’re very, very important to me. Obviously you’ve got the guys like Jason (Forde), Ronan (Maher) and these guys that are in their mid-twenties and then you have the boys with the experience of winning All-Irelands. So there’s a really good mix.”

Sheedy is directing operations for Tipperary and has a helping hand with his former right hand-man Eamonn O’Shea assisting him.

Eamon O'Shea Former Tipperary hurling boss Eamon O'Shea.

“Look, Eamonn and myself, that’s something that goes back a long way. Not just as a manager and coach in our previous set-up, but as two very, very good friends.

“I’m very fortunate to have people like Eamonn, Tommy (Dunne) and Darragh (Egan) working with the team. They’re all exceptional coaches and exceptional people in their own right.

“When you’ve got 40 players on the pitch you really do need a lot of bodies and we’re fortunate in Tipp that we have the calibre of people like Eamonn, Tommy, and Darragh.

“And the fact that they are home-grown, it really does help as well in terms of our ethos and what we’re trying to achieve in Tipperary.”

The 2010 All-Ireland winning boss feels it will ‘be an incredible championship’.

“I just think that most of these matches are going to be the puck of a ball, honestly it’s going to be an incredible championship.

“In fairness Limerick have been the benchmark throughout the league and in the Munster championship the last two years, Cork have been the benchmark.

“But then you saw Clare coming so close against Galway last year and obviously Waterford have had an outstanding league campaign.

“Last year we were probably the team being most talked about going into the championship, and this year we’re probably at the other end of the spectrum.

“But I don’t think any team going into the championship doesn’t feel they have a realistic chance of getting into the top three and look, you might need that slice of luck, you might need the width of the post to be with you.”

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