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Sheedy adjusts to changing role in Tipperary - 'It's just so frantic, it's full on'

Nine years on Sheedy will be back in charge on All-Ireland hurling final day.

Tipperary hurling boss Liam Sheedy.
Tipperary hurling boss Liam Sheedy.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

WHEN LIAM SHEEDY was last at the helm of Tipperary on All-Ireland hurling final week, he was gearing up for a showdown on 5 September.

That was the target each season, to ensure they were still be knocking around in early September. 

Tipperary swept to glory in 2010 over the course of seven championship appearances, after they journeyed through the backdoor due to an early loss to Cork. The previous season they had contested the 2009 decider after just playing four matches beforehand.

In Sheedy’s maiden campaign they lifted the Munster title on the back of two wins and their run ended at the hands of Waterford in their third championship outing of 2008.

In his second coming as Tipperary boss he is operating in a radically changed landscape. By the close of play in Munster this summer, Sheedy had steered Tipperary through five matches. They’ve a couple of All-Ireland assignments completed since then. Now they get the chance to lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup in mid-August.

“It’s just so frantic, it’s full on,” says Sheedy.

“The last time around if you won four or five games you would have won the All-Ireland. This is our eighth game. You’ve got to time it. There will be periods when your performance levels can dip or you energy levels can dip so it’s about managing energy and managing time and really managing recovery.

“Yeah, there’s been a lot of learnings for us. But, as I said, the team I’ve put around the players has been superb. The backroom team and the work they’ve been doing, is just a credit to them.

“There’s people there operating at the top of their game and the lads are really responding on the back of that.”

Liam Sheedy speaks to Cathal Barrett Liam Sheedy with Cathal Barrett at a recent Tipperary hurling training session. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Sheedy feels there is still work to be done in improving the GAA calendar.

“For me, from when we started in the middle of November last year to where we find ourselves now it’s a long season. I still think there’s work to be done when tweaking the overall calendar because I’m not so sure yet we’ve got a synchronised calendar that allows a meaningful calendar and sequence of games for club and inter-county players so there’s more tweaking to be done.

“Exactly how that will pan out over time, I don’t know, but there is certainly more work to be done to ensure we continue to develop, in parallel, the club and inter-county players.”

A heavy Munster final defeat to Limerick and a patchy All-Ireland quarter-final win over Laois raised question marks over Tipperary.

The response to adversity in the semi-final against Wexford was hugely satisfying for Sheedy.

Liam Sheedy and Padraic Maher celebrates Tipperary’s manager Liam Sheedy and Padraic Maher celebrates. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“The Munster final was a tough day for us. We didn’t bring a level of performance in the second-half of what we’d expect from ourselves so that was hugely disappointing.

“But, equally impressive was the way the guys regrouped and have gone about their business since. Probably a lot of question marks still from various sectors after the quarter-final performance.

“The first half was tough for us against Wexford. They were over-running us and had us in deep trouble at periods in that first half. The questions were asked and that wasn’t turned around by me or any of my backroom team. That was turned around by those guys inside the white lines. The 15 that started and the five that came in.

“I suppose the way the bench reacted the way they came in, they really made the difference.

“But, ultimately, the way we finished the game and the way we reacted when our backs was to the wall was probably hugely pleasing.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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